Tony Mowbray has warned against underestimating QPR in the wake of their relegation struggle last season. Sunderland head to Loftus Road this afternoon to take on QPR as the Championship campaign resumes following the international break.

The West London side made a strong start last term and topped the table ahead of eventual champions Burnley in mid-October, yet from there they won just two games in the next six months, before ultimately finishing just two places and six points above the relegation zone, marking their lowest finish since 2005-06. This season then got off to a rocky start with a 4-0 defeat at Watford, but since then boss Gareth Ainsworth has made progress and they have won two of their next four games – including a 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough last time out – and they now have just one point fewer than Sunderland at this early stage.

“I think there’s a danger of people underestimating them,” said Black Cats head coach Mowbray. “There’s a huge amount of stock to be put in getting your players to buy into what you’re trying to do, and they have undoubtedly got some very talented individuals that can damage anybody in this league.
“It’s a tight little ground, it’s pretty similar in some ways to Luton last season when you go there and it’s a tight pitch with the stands right there on top of you. It’s a difficult place to go.

Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray talks Middlesbrough's promotion race ahead of  Sheffield United clash - Teesside Live
“We went there last season for a night match and won, and we have to go there and try to impose ourselves on them but we are also aware of their threats and their organisation. It’s not going to be easy and we will have to be at our best.”
The night game Mowbray was referring to came in February, when two goals from Jack Clarke and one from Luke O’Nien gave the Black Cats a 3-0 win. It proved to be Neil Critchley’s penultimate game in charge, with Ainsworth then leaving Wycombe Wanderers to take the reins.

Sunderland stats: Cutting through the frustration to examine Jack Clarke's  productivity - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation
Former Blackburn boss Mowbray gets on well with Ainsworth, and says: “I know Gareth – he’s a Blackburn lad, isn’t he? We used to talk every now and then. He started at Blackburn as a kid.


“He was Wycombe manager for so long, but I’m pleased he got the job he got. He could have got the Blackburn job if the timing was different – football is all about timing, and when I left I don’t know he got interviewed or was part of the story, I can’t remember.

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