Queens Park Rangers Club Focus – Warnock makes Premier League priority and moves for Barton signing

Despite their 4-0 drubbing by Bolton Wanderers in the opening weekend of the new season, Queens Park Rangers showed real character on Saturday to beat what was, with the exception of 17-year-old Ross Barkley, a seasoned Everton side 1-0 at Goodison Park. Tommy Smith was the hero on the day, losing Phil Jagielka just inside the box to calmly distribute the ball into the far corner to give the Rs their first win in the Premier League for 15 years.

Neil Warnock evidently cared little for Tuesday’s Carling Cup tie against League One’s Rochdale, making eight adjustments to the side he fielded against the Toffees at the weekend. The change in personnel proved costly as the home side fell behind after just four minutes when Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro followed up a shot from Ashley Grimes. QPR kept the ball well for much of the second-half and were denied an equaliser when Jay Bothroyd’s first goal for the Hoops was ruled out for offside. Rochdale doubled their lead with nine minutes left on the clock when Dale’s captain Gary Jones chipped Brian Murphy.

In matters off the pitch, Newcastle United’s Joey Barton has undergone his second medical with QPR, spurring rumours he will most likely be leaving the Magpies before the transfer window closes at the end of the month. Barton was made available for a free transfer by Newcastle earlier in the summer after making his criticisms of the North East club known on Twitter. The 28-year-old travelled down to London on Wednesday for further tests ahead of his prospective signing but has admitted he does not want to leave Newcastle: “Don’t want to leave Newcastle,” jotted the player on Twitter. “I’ve made that clear but my hands are tied.” Warnock reiterated Barton’s feelings; forced to confess the transfer is far from complete even though he hoped negotiations would be in their final stages by Thursday afternoon. The Daily Mail understands Barton has been offered a wage somewhere in the region of £70,000 a week and would be made the club’s captain with his wealth of experience in the topflight.

After receiving wave after wave of criticism regarding QPR’s overpriced season tickets, new majority shareholder Tony Fernandes has promised to give “significant” refunds back to fans that have bought them nonetheless, after prices rose by almost 40%. It is not yet known how much will be reimbursed but Ra gers have announced that each ticket holder will be contacted individually to solve the situation. The changes were made initially to counterbalance QPR’s promotion to the Premier League but the club’s new CEO Philip Beard is confident the fans will react kindly to the revised price changes made this week.

On the back of the Rs first win of the season, Fernandes has pledged to support Warnock 100% in order to ensure the club are still in the Premier League this time next year and is hopeful five more players can be brought in before 31 August – Barton included. Speaking to BBC Radio Five Live, the Malaysian business mogul revealed how his manager’s passion is “infectious” and hinted he would like to build a bigger stadium sometime in the future, with locality at the forefront of his mind: “Definitely we would like a bigger stadium and a nicer stadium. We have to try and stay around the area because I think that’s very important.” QPR continue their Premier League campaign on Saturday when they face Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.

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