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Barton set for QPR medical

Newcastle United have given transfer-listed midfielder Joey Barton permission to speak to QPR, signalling that his St James' Park career could be nearing an end.

• Ill feeling may hamper Parker move

Barton, 28, was made available by the Magpies earlier this summer after criticising the club's recuitment policy on Twitter, and has been a divisive figure throughout his four-year spell on Tyneside.

The former Manchester City man's career has been plagued by controversy and he served a 77-day prison sentence in 2008 after being convicted of assault.

But despite his misdemeanours on and off the pitch, Barton has established himself as one of the Premier League's most consistent midfielders and QPR boss Neil Warnock is keen to add the midfielder to his squad as the Rs look to survive their first season back in the top flight since 1996.

Barton confirmed a deal is close on his Twitter account, commenting: "Going for a medical now, still no contract offer from NUFC.......think that just about makes my mind up. Don't want to leave Newcastle........I've made that clear but my hands are tied."

Warnock is also thought to be interested in bringing West Ham midfielder Scott Parker and Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to Loftus Road.

Meanwhile, QPR have announced "significant'' refunds on season tickets already purchased by fans. The move comes less than a week after Tony Fernandes' takeover and follows criticism from supporters of the price hike that accompanied their promotion to the Premier League.

The size of the refunds has yet to be confirmed, but the club revealed it would write to season ticket holders individually about the refund process.

Chief executive Philip Beard, who was appointed two days ago, told the club's official website: "These changes show how serious we are about taking the fans' views on board. Ticket prices are imperative to the business structure and we are confident our supporters will react positively to the news and help make Loftus Road a fortress on matchdays.''

Beard also announced the club would reduce matchday ticket prices, introducing a third pricing category and letting children under eight attend home fixtures for free in specified areas of Loftus Road, provided they were accompanied by a full paying adult.

Prices for category A games, which will include the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, will range from £45-£70, category B games from £35-£60 and category C from £25-£50. The lowest ticket price before the reductions had been £35.

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