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QPR back in the bottom three as Barton and Cisse cause a stir

| 26.03.2012

QPR’s dramatic come-from-behind midweek victory over Liverpool was supposed to launch their survival bid, but the Hoops have fallen straight back in the relegation zone, where they are 1/3 to stay.

A 3-1 loss away to Sunderland, coupled with Bolton’s triumph over Blackburn, has once again transformed the battle to avoid the drop, while Wigan showed that they are far from finished with a shock 2-1 win at Anfield.

But it wasn’t just results that rendered this a hectic weekend for QPR, with arguably the most high-profile incident at the club being Mark Hughes’ decision to drop underperforming captain Joey Barton to the bench.

Barton didn’t feature at all at the Stadium of Light, predictably taking to Twitter to express his disappointment at being omitted days after he was booed off at Loftus Road prior to the comeback against Liverpool.

The midfielder has since opted to have a break from Twitter “before I say something I’ll end up regretting”, raising questions as to whether the obvious discontent of the team’s most high-profile player will cause further unrest.

Possibly even more problematic for Hughes though was a second dismissal of the season for January signing Djibril Cisse, who has had a huge impact when he has been available, which will see him sit out four matches with suspension.

The manager admitted his frustration with the Frenchman for what he deemed a needless sending off, however far more telling was the public criticism of the owner Tony Fernandes.

Taking to Twitter like his skipper, he said: “I’m genuinely p***** off. We’ve got to bloody keep 11 players on the pitch,” before reiterating his full support for Mark Hughes, who he sacked Neil Warnock to appoint.

QPR are 1/3 to finish in the bottom three despite sitting only a point from safety, perhaps because they still have each of the top five left to play.



Richard Anderson