Joey Barton is expected to make his Premier League debut for Queens Park Rangers on Monday against his former club Newcastle United. Barton struck a sour note at the Toon after the midfielder made derogatory comments about the club on Twitter
Newcastle’s loss was QPR’s gain as Barton looks ahead to Monday’s encounter with his former club in what will also be his first appearance in the blue and white hoops. Neil Warnock is also hoping to show off his other summer signings, naming the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore and Luke Young in his provisional squad.
With the generous backing of new chairman Tony Fernandes, Warnock was able to act virtually unrestrained in the final days of the transfer window and has been able to employ players that have a wealth of experience in the top flight. Full-back Luke Young, one of Warnock’s first signings of the Fernandes era, knows better than most what it takes to survive in one of the world’s toughest domestic leagues. He told the club’s official website: “It’s important to move on collectively to try and ensure we get some points on the board. We need to quickly get a side together that can compete in this league.”
Meanwhile, Shaun Derry admits the new arrivals at W12 have already had an impact in training by introducing a faster tempo to training sessions that was previously absent from the R’s: “The lads have fitted in straightaway because they’ve arrived in great numbers. The sessions have gone up a notch or two, that’s for sure.” Derry may be the wrong side of 30 but showed on numerous occasions last term that he can still hold his own in the centre of the park but admits the summer’s new recruits will make it even more difficult to break into the manager’s starting XI: “When you look over your shoulder and see the quality of the lads that are vying for your shirt, you realise you’ve got to be at it each and every day. I’m sure the Manager will have a lot of tough decisions to make ahead of Monday, but what a selection headache to have.”
Money may be no object to business mogul Fernandes but even he appears to have got ahead of himself when he let slip his desire to entice David Beckham to Loftus Road. The former England captain is in the final year of his contract with LA Galaxy and has also been linked to Tottenham Hotspur after training with the north London club back in January. Warnock denied in an interview with BBC Sport that the purchase of the 36-year-old was not at the top of his agenda: “It is not a discussion chairman Tony Fernandes and I have had. I’ve got enough problems worrying about Newcastle, I don’t want to worry about that.”
QPR have not beaten Newcastle since 1995 but with an exciting new line-up in prospect, Monday night could render that stat obsolete.
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