Hughes favourite for QPR after Warnock's sacking

Shock decision by owner Tony Fernandes ends veteran's reign following slide to 17th in the table

Neil Warnock was unexpectedly fired last night as manager of Queen's Park Rangers. Owner Tony Fernandes, who only bought the club in August, sacked Warnock a day after watching Rangers snatch a late draw at the League One side MK Dons in the FA Cup third round.

Mark Hughes is favourite to take over as Fernandes wants a "big name". The Welshman's adviser, Kia Joorabchian, flew back from Brazil last night with a view to speaking to Fernandes, though it would not seem an obvious step up from Fulham, whom Hughes left last summer. A somewhat improbable managerial partnership of Gianfranco Zola and Ray Wilkins, who managed QPR between 1994-96, is also being discussed.

In a statement Rangers said the decision was due to "the commitment to retaining our Premier League status", adding that "our recent run of poor form has seen us slip alarmingly down the table and the board felt it was the right time to make a change".

A return of one point from the last 18 possible has dropped QPR to 17th in the table, one place and one point above the relegation zone. However, those six matches included one-goal defeats at Arsenal and Liverpool, and a 2-0 loss to Manchester United. At no stage this season have QPR been in the relegation zone and there have been no calls for Warnock's head from Rangers fans, despite just one win this season at Loftus Road.

"I'm disappointed because I think we've been playing well, but a lot of things haven't gone our way in recent games," said Warnock last night. "I'd like to have had the chance to strengthen the team in the transfer window and show what I can do with a few new players."

Warnock has had to operate for the opening half of the campaign with last season's Championship winners plus a few recruits added in great haste after the takeover in the final days of the August transfer window.

Warnock said that he left QPR with "a great sense of pride". He arrived at Loftus Road 22 months ago with the club embroiled in a fight to avoid relegation to League One. Having evaded the drop, he reshaped the side in the summer of 2010 and won the title, returning QPR to the top flight for the first time since 1996.

Wilkins was manager that season. The prospect of him and Zola, who is equally identified with Chelsea (and was in charge at West Ham the season they went down), is unlikely to cheer Rangers fans who, by and large, greeted Warnock's exit with a mixture of bemusement and anger. Fernandes tweeted that it was his "toughest decision in 47 years of life" and said "we had to think about the future of the club".

Warnock was told of the decision to sack him by chief executive Phil Beard not Fernandes, who did not speak to him at Milton Keynes. After the dismissal Fernades texted Warnock. The assistant manager, Mick Jones, and first-team coach, Keith Curle, both long-time associates, have also left the club.

QPR was the 63-year-old Warnock's 12th job in management, having begun at Gainsborough Trinity in 1980. It may be also be his last. While his record of seven promotions means he will not be short of offers from ambitious Championship clubs, he has two children of school age and a home in Cornwall and may now focus on media work including his column in The Independent.

Meanwhile, whoever takes over at QPR will be deprived of the services for the rest of the season of Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin, who ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament on Saturday.

News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid
football
News
peoplePerformer had recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer
Life and Style
food + drink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?