Hughes pleased by squad attitude

New QPR boss Mark Hughes admits he has been "pleasantly surprised" by what he has inherited at Loftus Road as he prepares for his home Barclays Premier League debut.

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Hughes' encouraging start continued with a midweek FA Cup replay win over Milton Keynes Dons and he sees plenty of reasons for optimism as they prepare to clash with Wigan.

He said: "I have been pleasantly surprised with the real determination and attitude the group has.

"It is difficult in a short space of time and we're mindful that we don't want to overburden them with too much information, but it is important to get the message across and they understand what I want from them."

Latics boss Roberto Martinez admits Hughes' arrival will make his own job harder.

Martinez said: "A new manager coming in always gives a team a lift. They will expect a bit of momentum and a real high-intensity performance."

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers says his side will not settle for their heroic win over Arsenal last weekend as they take the long trip north to face Martin O'Neill's Sunderland aiming to cement their place in the top half.

Rodgers said: "It was a brilliant result and performance but we are ready to fight for more and we want to progress further. The players are in good condition and they are ready for the next challenge."

Alan Pardew's Newcastle head for Fulham in a markedly different mood to their last visit to Craven Cottage one year ago, when the £35million deadline day transfer of Andy Carroll increased the gloom around St James' Park.

Pardew's men are without Demba Ba and new boy Papiss Demba Cisse who are both on African Nations Cup duty but Pardew said: "It is a complete reverse. We were a little bit down in the dumps. This year, we are going there with a new signing."

Former Liverpool striker David Ngog expects to line up against his old club for the first time since his move in August as struggling Bolton face Kenny Dalglish's men at the Reebok Stadium.

Ngog told "I'm playing against my own club but as a professional you have to have the feelings that it is nothing different and that it is like any game on Saturday. It is one we want to win like any other match."

Blackburn boss Steve Kean must decide whether to include wantaway defender Chris Samba in his line-up for Rovers' trip to Everton, with Scott Dann available again after six games out with a groin strain.

Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish is also pondering whether to throw in new loan signing Robbie Keane at Wolves, who will be eager to wipe their disappointing midweek FA Cup replay loss to Birmingham from their system.

Norwich are racing against time to complete the signing of Leeds midfielder Jonathan Howson in time for Saturday's Carrow Road clash with Chelsea, while Stoke aim to extend their recent run of one loss in 10 at home to flailing WBA.

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