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Redknapp: Rio has a key role to play at QPR

Harry Redknapp insists Rio Ferdinand still has a part to play in QPR's survival bid as the former England captain returns from suspension.

Ferdinand was hit with a three-game ban following comments he posted on Twitter but is now eligible to return at a key time for the R's - who are without Richard Dunne for the visit of Leicester on Saturday as he serves his own suspension having collected five yellow cards.

Absolutely, he can play a big role.

Hopefully he is going to be fit. He is going to train and we will assess his fitness. He has not played for a few weeks now. He had the suspension.

We will have a look at it and see how he is. Rio does not have anything to prove to anybody. He has been a fantastic player for so many years. He is not one that I have to worry about.

It has been difficult. He has come from a team who win every week to a team who has come out of the Championship and found it difficult. It has been a difficult period.

He probably was not getting a lot of protection. It was not just Rio, whoever played at the back found it difficult in those early games. We have looked more solid recently. I am delighted to have him here.

– QPR boss Harry Redknapp.

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Joey Barton starts for QPR at Newcastle

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#NUFC v @QPRFC (4-3-3): Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Dummett, Haidara; R.Taylor, Sissoko (c), Colback; Cabella, Perez, Ameobi.

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#NUFC subs v @QPRFC: Elliot, Streete, Anita, Gouffran, Armstrong, Ferreyra, Cisse.

QPR boss praises Newcastle owner Ashley

QPR boss Harry Redknapp believes Mike Ashley has been a "fantastic" chairman for Newcastle and claims Alan Pardew would have been sacked by now under a foreign owner.

Ashley has endured a turbulent relationship with Newcastle supporters, who have criticised the billionaire's off-field appointments, the renaming of St James' Park and a lack of investment in new players since he bought the club in 2007.

The chairman has been fantastic.

He gets a lot of stick, Mike Ashley, but he's always at the games in the crowd.

He follows the team, loves it, and has stuck by Alan because he knows he's got a good manager.

It's easy to make a knee-jerk reaction and bomb him out.

They finished fifth the other year and were very unlucky not to finish in the Champions League places - he's done a good job.

– Harry Redknapp

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