Mark Hughes
Hughes left Fulham in June after less than a year in charge

Mark Hughes is the front-runner to take over at QPR – with chief executive Philip Beard hoping the club will make an appointment in the next 48 hours.

Ex-Wales boss Hughes, 48, was in charge at Fulham before leaving in June and has been out of the game since then.

Beard told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We are working extremely hard to bring in the right person.

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The funny thing is that I do not actually think QPR are as bad as their results have suggested, but they have simply not been able to score enough goals despite bringing in Jay Bothroyd, DJ Campbell and Shaun Wright-Phillips

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“I’m hoping we have someone in place in advance of our game against Newcastle [on Sunday].”

Welshman Hughes also has Premier League experience with Blackburn and Manchester City. Beard agrees that Hughes has the kind of background that the club are looking for although they have “three or four” candidates in mind.

With the club 17th in the Premier League, chairman Tony Fernandes said they made the decision to sack Neil Warnock in the hope a change might preserve their top-flight status.

Beard added: “Neil has done an incredible job for QPR, bringing the club back into the Premier League. We want to remember what he achieved here but we want to move on. We think the time is right to make the change.

“We will be judged because it’s a results-orientated business. The results have not been good over the last few months. We are now in the infamous January transfer window and we want to do some business.

“We haven’t made this change lightly. What we really want is a period of stability.”

Recent QPR managers

  • 2010-12: Neil Warnock
  • 2010: Mick Harford (caretaker)
  • 2009-10: Paul Hart
  • 2009: Steve Gallen & Marc Bircham (caretakers)
  • 2009: Jim Magilton
  • 2009: Gareth Ainsworth (caretaker)
  • 2008-09: Paulo Sousa
  • 2008: Gareth Ainsworth (caretaker)
  • 2008: Iain Dowie
  • 2007-08: Luigi De Canio
  • 2007: Mick Harford (caretaker)
  • 2006-07: John Gregory
  • 2006: Gary Waddock (caretaker)
  • 2001-06: Ian Holloway
  • 1998-01: Gerry Francis

Former West Ham manager Gianfranco Zola is among others who have been linked with the vacancy, but BBC Radio 5 live senior football reporter Ian Dennis says that Hughes is favourite to take charge.

“The departures of assistant manager Mick Jones and first-team coach Keith Curle with Neil Warnock indicate that QPR are planning to announce a successor quickly,” said Dennis.

“They have cleared the decks – no need for a caretaker.

“Mark Hughes has been lined up to replace Warnock and will be offered the chance to return to management after he resigned from Fulham last June.

“He will be given the funds in the transfer window to bolster a side that has gone eight league games without a victory.”

QPR made an encouraging start to the Premier League season, having been guided back to the top flight last year by Warnock, and were ninth on 19 November.

But, without a win since then, QPR have slid down to 17th – just one point clear of the relegation zone – and needed a last-minute equaliser from Heidar Helguson to avoid an FA Cup third-round defeat by League One side MK Dons on Saturday.

Former QPR manager and player Iain Dowie told Radio 5 Live Breakfast: “Mark Hughes would be a very safe pair of hands. But you never know what Tony [Fernandes] has in mind.”

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Discussing the decision to sack Warnock, Dowie added: “Neil seems to be given very little credit for the job he did last year, which is rather surprising. Also I don’t think the league position they’re in is beyond the kilter.

“They have 17 points from 20 games. You don’t know what goes on behind the scenes but it certainly raised an eyebrow for me.”