Fernandes wants Hughes in place before Newcastle game


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The Independent Football

Mark Hughes is on the brink of taking over at Queen's Park Rangers today, filling the vacancy created by Sunday's sacking of Neil Warnock.

The former Blackburn and Manchester City manager, unemployed since walking away from Fulham in the summer, spent hours at Loftus Road yesterday accompanied by Kia Joorabchian, the ubiquitous football adviser.

Tony Fernandes, owner of two Asian airlines as well as QPR, is understood to have skipped a business meeting in Singapore to interview Hughes in the hope that he will be installed before Rangers' Sunday match at Newcastle.

"I am pleased with how it has gone but nothing is confirmed yet," Hughes said after leaving the talks. "It is an interesting project they are talking about but there is a lot more to discuss.

"We are still discussing the ideas the club have and I've got to think carefully about what has been said overnight and come back in the morning."

Philip Beard, QPR's chief executive, said Hughes was one of "three or four" candidates but admitted the Welshman fitted the bill. Hughes would bring with him his coaching team of Mark Bowen, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Glyn Hodges and Kevin Hitchcock.

Also in contention is Ray Wilkins who declared that "it would be a delight to go back and help them out, an absolute pleasure". Wilkins was manager in the relegation season of 1995-96, when Rangers were last in the Premier League, but he said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my stint there before."

Whoever is in charge at St James' Park will have selection problems after Alejandro Faurlin – who had played every minute in the League this season – ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament on Saturday. With Joey Barton suspended and Adel Taarabt at the African Nations Cup, Shaun Derry is likely to be partnered by Akos Buzsaky in central midfield.