| 6.3°C Dublin

Hughes closing in on QPR hot seat

Mark Hughes was on the brink of taking over at QPR last night, filling the vacancy created by Sunday's sacking of Neil Warnock.

Unemployed since walking away from Fulham in the summer, Hughes spent hours at Loftus Road accompanied by Kia Joorabchian, the ubiquitous football adviser.

QPR owner Tony Fernandes is understood to have skipped a business meeting in Singapore to interview Hughes (right) in the hope that he will be in charge for Sunday's match at Newcastle.

Chief executive Philip Beard said Hughes was one of "three or four" candidates but admitted the Welshman fitted the bill. Hughes would bring with him his coaching team of Mark Bowen, Eddie Niedzwiecki, Glyn Hodges and Kevin Hitchcock.

Also in contention is Ray Wilkins, who was manager in the relegation season of 1995-96, when Rangers were last in the Premier League, but he said: "I thoroughly enjoyed my stint there before, I enjoyed my time at Chelsea. I think I've probably grown in that field quite a bit over the last couple of years."

Whoever is in charge at St James' Park will have selection problems after Alejando Faurlin -- who had played every minute in the league this season-- ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Celtic were drawn against Inverness in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth round.

The Hoops were famously dumped out of the tournament by then First Division side Caley Thistle in February 2000, before suffering another defeat to the Highlanders in March 2003.

Terry Butcher's men must first overcome Dunfermline in a fourth-round replay to secure another cup clash with Celtic.

See full draw in factfile

Irish Independent