Joey Barton expects QPR to be relegated from Premier League

Midfielder currently on loan with Marseille

Joey Barton expects QPR to be relegated from the Barclays Premier League - and hopes he will not be around to help pick up the pieces.

Rangers are four points adrift at the foot of the table with Barton claiming they are paying the price for failing to gel as a team.

The 30-year-old midfielder has joined Marseille on loan until the end of the season, but wants to extend his stay in the south of France.

"The likelihood is, unless there is a massive turnaround in fortunes, QPR will be in the Championship next season," he told BBC's Football Focus.

"What it seems to me as a neutral - and I am in France, no matter that I am contracted - is that they have got a big case of a lot of good individuals, a lot of good quality individuals, but not a good team.

"For me to be part of the side that stayed up and not be part of the side that went down, it would be difficult for me to go back.

"I haven't closed my mind to it (going back), although I would really like to stay here. I'm in a good space mentally.

"I've held preliminary talks with Marseille about extending my stay here. They have asked me whether I would stay beyond the loan period."

Barton moved to Marseille in August following his 12-match ban issued by the Football Association for two counts of violent conduct against Manchester City in the final match of last season.

"It didn't end in great circumstances in West London for me," said Barton, who has two years left on his contract at Loftus Road.

"I know there has been a change in terms of the management structure, but something like that, and what goes on around that, lives with you beyond a managerial change."

Barton insists QPR's chances of escaping relegation have improved following the appointment of Harry Redknapp, who oversees his first home game in charge against Aston Villa tomorrow.

"Harry Redknapp's record speaks for itself. This time last year he was being talked about as the only successor to (former England coach) Fabio Capello," he said.

"He has always done well with players and always got players on board. He is a really good man-manager.

"If anyone can pull the players together, a manager of Redknapp's calibre is capable of that. They are in with a good chance now with Harry there."

PA

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