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QPR Appoints Mark Hughes as Manager on 2 1/2-Year Contract

Queens Park Rangers appointed Mark Hughes as manager, two days after Neil Warnock was fired with the club one spot above the relegation positions in English soccer’s Premier League.

Hughes, 48, without a club since quitting as Fulham coach in June, joins on a 2 1/2-year contract, QPR said in a statement on its website.

“I’m fully aware of the challenge in the short and long term and I am genuinely excited about the ambition of the owners,” Hughes said in the statement.

QPR, promoted to England’s top league as winner of the second-tier Championship last season, has slipped to 17th in the standings after a run of eight league matches without a victory. The three bottom teams are relegated at the end of the campaign.

West London-based QPR has fared less well than Norwich City and Swansea City, the two other clubs that were promoted to the top division. Its last win was at Stoke City on Nov. 19. QPR was held to a 1-1 tie at third-tier MK Dons in the F.A. Cup third round last weekend, Warnock’s final match.

Tony Fernandes, chief executive officer of Malaysia’s AirAsia Bhd, bought a majority stake in QPR in mid-August after which the club embarked on a spending spree to bring in high-profile players including midfielder Joey Barton, winger Shaun Wright-Phillips and fullback Luke Young.

Hughes has told QPR that he needs to spend 30 million pounds ($46.5 million) on players to lift the club clear of relegation trouble, the Express reported today.

The former Manchester United player guided Fulham to eighth in his only season with the Cottagers before quitting and questioning the team’s ambition.

Hughes has also coached Blackburn and Manchester City following a spell as manager of the Welsh national team.

His first match in charge of QPR will be at Newcastle on Jan. 15, followed by a home replay against MK Dons in the F.A. Cup.

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