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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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QPR chief dismisses Barton exit talk

QPR chief executive Phillip Beard says club captain Joey Barton will not be going anywhere amid speculation that the midfielder is not in the long-term plans of new manager Mark Hughes.

• Hughes appointment pleases Barton

Barton, 29, arrived at Loftus Road from Newcastle at the end of the summer transfer window but has tasted victory just three times in 16 games as an Rs player as the team has slumped into the Premier league relegation zone.

The appointment of Mark Hughes as Neil Warnock's replacement in the managerial hotseat is expected to usher in a new era of big spending for QPR and there has been a suggestion that Barton - who has retained the captaincy for now - is not part of the Welshman's bigger picture.

But Beard, who helped bring Hughes to the club, said he was "flabbergasted" to hear such reports about Barton's future.

"I can categorically tell you there's been no discussions in the time I've spent with Mark or his team this week about anyone leaving," Beard told BBC Sport.

"[Barton] is the captain, he came in the summer and is part of the building work we want to do. He has been fantastic in my six months at the club.

"We are not a selling club. We're in the market to buy one or two players. We're talking to several clubs about options, so I'm cautiously optimistic that we can strengthen the squad."

• Catch action from every Barclays Premier League match on your mobile for FREE on the enhanced ESPN Goals app (UK only).

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