BBC Radio 5 live

QPR assistant boss Mark Bowen talking to BBC Radio 5 live about what he and boss Mark Hughe have worked on since taking charge: “A week’s a long time in football. We are trying to get our ideas into the players but we have to be guarded and don’t want to flood them with information. There can be a bit of nervousness with new managers coming in but we feel the players have embraced things.”

BBC Radio 5 live

BBC Radio 5 live football pundit Kevin Gallacher, on the same subject: “When you look at the number of goals Demba Ba has got, it was great for Newcastle the way they stumbled across him. His absence gives Shola Ameobi and Leon Best another chance. I am surprised they have not tried to replace Ba but manager Alan Pardew has obviously seen something on the training pitch that nobody else has.”

Alan Shearer

Newcastle legend and BBC football pundit Alan Shearer speaking about the Magpies’ striking options: “Demba Ba has been sensational this season. His goalscoring record is better than he’s ever had, he’ll be a huge miss and I’m slightly surprised he hasn’t brought anyone in to replace him. Without him they wouldn’t be sitting in seventh position. We know he has problems with his knee but you wouldn’t know that watching him play.”

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From Deano_nufc, via text: “I can understand why Pardew doesn’t start Ben Arfa against the better teams because of his lack of defensive work rate, but surely if he is going to build any momentum today against an injury hit struggling QPR side who will be playing for the draw is ideal? Glad Taylor is prefered to Obertan and great to see Guthrie back he played really well against Stoke and Man utd before his injury.”

1302: A bit of transfer chat for you now. Tottenham’s title bid has hardly come off the rails with Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves but you can hardly blame Spurs boss Harry Redknapp for thinking about strengthening his squad. This morning, he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Sportsweek programme that he was flying to Marseille to watch 25-year-old striker Loic Remy in their game against Lille tonight (2000 GMT). “I watched him about 18 months ago and I’m going to have another look,” he said. “I’ve had reports on him. I’d be doubtful if anything happens but I’ve got to keep looking.” Just keep a close eye on your wallet this time Harry, because we know what happened when you went to Madrid this time last year…
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Infostrada Sports on Twitter: “After Demba Ba who is unavailable, Newcastle’s top scorers are Leon Best and Own Goal, both with three.”

Twitter

BBC Radio 5 live’s Nigel Adderley at Sports Direct Arena/St James’ Park on Twitter: “Least half of the St James’ Park pitch bathed in sunshine, Gallogate half still frostbound in the shadows.”

Newcastle v QPR

NEWCASTLE v QPR TEAM NEWS
Owen Phillips reports: “Newcastle’s Africa Cup of Nations absentees Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote leave a huge void in their starting line-up but Danny Guthrie is fit to replace the latter in midfield and Leon Best starts up front. Hatem Ben Arfa is on the bench. QPR make just two enforced changes from Neil Warnock’s final Premier League game, the defeat against Norwich. Suspended skipper Joey Barton and Alejandro Faurlin, who is out for the rest of the season, miss out so Mark Hughes brings in Akos Buzsaky into the midfield and Jay Bothroyd up front alongside Heidar Helguson.”

Newcastle v QPR line-ups
Newcastle:
Krul, Simpson, Coloccini, Williamson, Santon, Ryan Taylor, Guthrie, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Best, Shola Ameobi. Subs: Elliot, Ben Arfa, Abeid, Perch, Gosling, Obertan, Ferguson.
QPR: Kenny, Young, Gabbidon, Ferdinand, Hill, Wright-Phillips, Derry, Buzsaky, Mackie, Helguson, Bothroyd. Subs: Cerny, Orr, Hall, Campbell, Smith, Ephraim, Macheda.
Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside)
Twitter

QPR owner Tony Fernandes on Twitter: “Just had a wonderful call from Neil Warnock to wish us luck today. Top man and great to have the call before a tough game.”

Twitter

banana_hill on Twitter: “Baffles me as to why Hatem Ben Arfa is on the bench and chronic underachiever Guthrie starts?”

Newcastle v QPR

NEWCASTLE v QPR (1330 GMT)
Owen Phillips reports: Newcastle manager Alan Pardew says defender Mike Williamson’s return after an ankle injury has been crucial in their recent mini revival. “We have had two clean sheets from Mike in four games, and that’s fantastic. It just goes to show how he has conditioned himself in that time off. He can be very proud of himself,” Pardew said. Meanwhile Mark Hughes has lofty aims of challenging for the title and Champions League places as he prepares for his first game as manager of the Loftus Road club. “It has to be the ultimate goal,” the QPR boss said.

From anonymous Newcastle fan, via text: “I have faith in Pardew but starting Ben Arfa on the bench is madness. What does he have to do to earn his place?”
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Lamby625 on Twitter: “Re 1225. Hughes had a smaller budget at Blackburn than he has with QPR & he worked wonders with them – I think he will do well with £30m.”

Twitter

Hawaii_Mag on Twitter: “Think Shola is the key today. If he is in the same form as the United game QPR won’t be able to live with him.”

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will_caruana on Twitter: “Akos Buzsaky back in the QPR midfield today, didnt get a chance under Warnock but easily premiership class #watchthisspace”

1242: BREAKING NEWCASTLE-QPR TEAM NEWS: Leon Best starts up front for Newcastle, and Danny Guthrie comes into midfield. Hatem Ben Arfa is on the bench. Meanwhile, Jay Bothroyd partners Heidur Helguson in QPR’s attack and Akos Buzsaky comes into their midfield. Full details and line-ups coming right up.
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ada_darlington on Twitter: “Re 1230. Nicely said Lawro, as long as we (Arsenal) caress our way to the goal post and deliver well-deserved goals, it’s all good.”

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From anon, via text: “Re 1225. Look at what Sparky can do without money! QPR have money and a decent squad. Mid-table finish for them. Blackburn, Bolton and Wolves to go down.”

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From Owyn, via text: “Re 1225. I’m not sure where the negativity is coming from. QPR have a decent squad. All they need are two quality centre backs, an extra midfielder and a striker or two. Oh, wait a minute… ”

Twitter

QPR legend Rodney Marsh on Twitter: “Think #QPR can get something at Newcastle but must get 3 points against #Wigan (next weekend).”

1236: Whether he is leaving Loftus Road (as is being reported in today’s Sunday Mirror), or not, Joseph Barton will not play against the Magpies today – he is suspended. Like Newcastle, Rangers also have two players – Adel Taarabt and Armand Traore – away on Africa Cup of Nations duty. I cannot help thinking that Demba Ba and Cheick Tiote will be missed just a tiny bit more, mind. Your thoughts?
Newcastle v QPR

NEWCASTLE v QPR (1330 GMT)
Owen Phillips reports: “Injuries to key defensive players threatened to derail Newcastle’s season but a stunning win over Manchester United and a Hatem Ben Arfa-inspired FA Cup victory over Blackburn have got things back on track in style. It’s no coincidence the upturn has come about with Mike Williamson’s return, and a third win out of four Premier League games will ensure they end the day in at least sixth spot. Meanwhile, it’s all quiet at Loftus Road isn’t it? It’s not like they have sacked an experienced manager, swiftly installed an ambitious young replacement, been linked with a host of top talent, are supposedly about to sell their skipper and have slipped into the bottom three.”

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alwyn12 on Twitter: “Re 1225. Mark Hughes had millions at city to play with. It’ll be interesting to see how he does with an even smaller budget!”

Mark Lawrenson

1230: Newcastle versus QPR is just the first installment of our two-part footballing feast today, followed by a clash between the prettiest passing side in Wales and the prettiest passing side in England. Otherwise known as Swansea versus Arsenal (at 1600 GMT). As Lawro told me: “If you were a Premier League football, you’d like to be used in this game. You are not going to get humped from one end of the pitch to the other, you are going to get caressed.”

Twitter

AndrewHarvey10 on Twitter: “Re 1225. Hughes is a good manager, but the QPR squad just isn’t good enough to stay in the league, Wigan have more chance than them!”

1225: Personally, I think Mark Hughes will keep QPR up this season, but I’m not sure one of the Premier League’s all-time great players will ever be regarded as one of its all-time great managers. What do you think, though? Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me @chrisbevan_bbc or text in via 81111 (UK).
1221: So, we know he can talk the talk… but Hughes gets his first chance to walk the walk today as QPR take on Newcastle in his first game in charge (1330 GMT KO). Bearing in mind Rangers have taken just one point from the last 24 available, getting anything at Sports Direct Arena (aka St James’ Park) would be a great result, even if it wouldn’t make him a great manager (just yet). Agreed?
1216: New QPR boss Mark Hughes, there, speaking when he was unveiled at Loftus Road this week. Do you think anyone will remember those words when the Welshman does come to leave? It’s not like anyone has been reminding him of what what he said when he departed Fulham last summer, is it?
1213: “People view me now as a competent Premier League manager and at the end of my tenure here, whenever that might be, I would like to think they will think of me as a great Premier League manager.”