Diakite called up by Mali

Samba Diakite will be missed by QPR. Photo: PA

QPR have received a blow with news that Samba Diakite has been called up to Mali's squad for the African Nations Cup, which will be shown live on ITV4.

The defensive midfielder is expected to link up with his international team-mates on January 5 and could be out until mid-February should the Eagles reach the final.

Diakite's absence will be a big blow to QPR, who are eight points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier League.

The 23-year-old's call-up follows better news in regards to Adel Taarabt, who has been left out of the Morocco squad for the African Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, QPR will be able to call upon DJ Campbell again from Thursday onwards.

The 31-year-old has impressed during a loan spell at Ipswich, netting 10 goals in 16 appearances.

The Rs have struggled for attacking options in his absence due to injuries to both Bobby Zamora and Andrew Johnson.

Campbell's earlier-than-scheduled return will boost the Hoops, who could include the striker in their FA Cup clash with West Brom on January 5.