Newcastle transfer tensions hint at power struggle as QPR dent title push | Louise Taylor

Mike Ashley has always relished a high-stakes gamble but Rafa Benítez cannot have expected Newcastle’s owner to risk quite so much right now

Who knows where Mike Ashley’s failure to trust Rafael Benítez’s judgment during the January transfer window might leave Newcastle United in May but Ciaran Clark’s last-gasp own-goal suggested three nervous months lie in store for a presently wobbly side.

Although still second in the Championship, Newcastle are only four points ahead of third-placed Reading and, frequently struggling against a spirited QPR, they looked a team craving reinforcements.

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