QPR on lookout following Dowie exit

QPR are looking for their fifth manager in 12 months after Iain Dowie's brief reign came to a surprise end today.

Gianluca Vialli, Roberto Mancini and legendary former Hoops boss Terry Venables are among the early names linked with the role after chairman Flavio Briatore swung the axe just 12 games into the Coca-Cola Championship season.

Venables would be the popular choice if Briatore, who this week slashed ticket prices at Loftus Road following protests from supporters, wanted to continue his charm offensive.

The 65-year-old guided Rangers to promotion to the top flight and an FA Cup final in the early 1980s before moving on to Barcelona and then England.

Dowie, who was only appointed in May, took charge of just 15 games in all competitions - exactly the same number as during his ill-fated spell at Charlton two years ago.

The former Northern Ireland striker, 43, drove away from the club's Harlington training ground for the final time this afternoon with Rangers lying ninth in the Championship table.

They are also in the last 16 of the Carling Cup, where they face a trip to Manchester United after knocking out Aston Villa in the third round.

But the Hoops have won just one of their last six games, and were held to a goalless draw at Swansea on Tuesday night despite the opposition playing for more than an hour with defender Alan Tate in goal.

Dowie was also reported to have clashed with Briatore over the club's transfer policy earlier this season, with the likes of 34-year-old ex-Italy midfielder Damiano Tommasi brought in on a one-year contract but yet to make an appearance.

Briatore's contacts are also thought to have secured the signings of Daniel Parejo, on loan from Real Madrid, and Emmanuel Ledesma from Fiorentina, but neither have been in the starting line-up recently.

Former QPR defender Paul Parker felt Dowie's dismissal was on the cards with expectation at the club at an all-time high following the investment of Briatore, Bernie Ecclestone and Lakshmi Mittal.

"You hear they're not happy with their manager. You read bits in the paper and that adds to the unrest," Parker told Setanta Sports News.

"It's great that they've got themselves in a better state than they were 12 months ago, but it worries me that they're chasing a dream too quickly and having no patience.

"Money can't guarantee you promotion. It takes time, it takes a lot of work, and it takes planning. You don't just top the league with maximum points.

"They're only seven points away from automatic promotion, they aren't in a bad position. It's only October."

Veteran winger Gareth Ainsworth has been placed in temporary charge for the trip to Reading tomorrow evening.