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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

QPR Report Thursday: QPR Poised to Axe Warnock?

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Mail/John Edwards - QPR poised to axe manager Warnock as Premier League new boys count the pennies

Neil Warnock's future at Loftus Road looked uncertain after a board meeting to thrash out finances and the club's structure ahead of QPR's return to the Barclays Premier League.

Sportsmail understands Bernie Ecclestone's desire to sell his shareholding in the club will leave Warnock particularly vulnerable, with prospective owners keen to bring in their own man. Former owner Flavio Briatore has first option on Ecclestone's 62 per cent stake.

QPR's board also look set to launch their first season back in the top flight on a shoestring budget after discussing making no more than £10million available for new signings and setting a pay ceiling of just £15,000 a week.

The meeting took place against a backdrop of growing fear Warnock may be on his way out. Despite steering his side to the npower Championship title, the former Sheffield United and Crystal Palace boss has had to battle constant claims that QPR's hierarchy are looking to bring in a new manager, with Claudio Ranieri's name to the fore.

West Ham have been alerted to the strained relationship between Warnock and QPR's owners and may consider him to succeed the sacked Avram Grant, should they fail to entice Paul Lambert from Norwich.

Lambert is the favourite, with a longer shelf life than Warnock but with similar credentials for returning them to the Premier League and establishing a firm foothold there.

But should he stay at newly promoted Norwich, Warnock would at least bring a track record for taking teams up.

His misgivings over his future are clearly shared by his bosses, who want the matter resolved swiftly after agreeing their summer spending plans.

Despite needing to build a squad able to compete in the top flight, they appear likely to commit no more than £10m for signings. The pay ceiling of £15,000 a week, only £5,000 more than Blackpool's 12 months ago, would at least be supplemented by appearances money of around £5,000 a week.

As a further disruption, Sportsmail understands star player Adel Taarabt, 21, is vulnerable to offers from more established Premier League and overseas clubs. Newcastle and Lazio are among the Morocco player's admirers." Mail

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