Toon set for Barton QPR bow

CONTROVERSIAL midfielder Joey Barton is expected to make his QPR debut tonight when they welcome his former club, Newcastle United, to Loftus Road.

Barton, one of a clutch of late signings by Rangers boss Neil Warnock in the transfer window, was allowed to leave on a free transfer after criticising Magpies chiefs, despite being one of their stars of last season.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has played down any ill-feeling, insisting that Barton, has nothing to prove to his former employers.

But the fixture list could hardly have thrown up a better sub-plot to mark the start of his QPR career.

Also in contention for their Rangers bows are winger Shaun Wright-Phillips, a deadline-day arrival from Manchester City, and full-back Luke Young.

Warnock is looking for his first home win of the season, having been bulldozed 4-0 by Bolton in their first match back in the Premier League and then lost to Rochdale in the Carling Cup.

Newcastle are unbeaten in six games and have made their best start to a top-flight season since 1995-96, during Kevin Keegan’s first spell in charge.

Meanwhile, QPR will this morning announce a new shirt sponsorship deal. Majority shareholder Tony Fernandes has made filling the void a priority since his takeover last month and is thought to have held talks with online foreign exchange traders Alpari.