QPR must make every effort to keep Joey Barton if they want to get back into the Premier League at the first attempt.
So says Rs new boy Danny Simpson, who played alongside Barton in Newcastle's Championship winning squad three years ago.
Barton (pictured) has this month been linked with moves to both his boyhood rivals Everton and French side Marseille, who he helped to a Champions League place while on loan from QPR last season.
But Simpson understands Rs manager Harry Redknapp's desire to keep Barton at Loftus Road instead.
He said: “He's still the same old Joey. We had a good relationship when we were Newcastle, as back then he played just ahead of me on the right wing, with me at right back.
“He's still doing his thing, talking to everyone and working hard, and whatever else happens, he always gives 110 per cent out on the pitch.
“I've been in this situation with him before. We both know what we want to do and what we need to do out there to get QPR promoted, so I hope he stays.
“Joey has started the season well and is really enjoying playing in the centre of midfield. He will always battle and give his best for the team.”