Queens Park Rangers-Sunderland Preview
Sunderland will be desperate to improve a disappointing home record as they take on managerless Queens Park Rangers at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening.
The Black Cats (4-12-8) are 14th in the table with 24 points from 24 matches. However, Sunderland have collected just 12 points from their 12 home league matches this campaign, posting two wins, six draws and four defeats. Their only victories in front of their own supporters were against Stoke (3-1 on Oct. 4) and Burnley (2-0 on Jan. 31).
The Wearsiders recorded their league-high 12th draw after being held 1-1 at Swansea last Saturday. New signing Jermain Defoe gave Sunderland the lead with a low drive near halftime before Ki Sung-Yueng equalised for the Swans with a diving header on 66 minutes.
Black Cats boss Gus Poyet was pleased with his side's performance at the Liberty Stadium.
"It was a great game for us with no excuses and confidence is high, so let's hope we can go and win on Tuesday against QPR," Poyet told his club website.
"I was very, very pleased with the first-half performance. I thought that we quite in control and passed the ball to go forward and find the goal, so the players were feeling good at half time but it was a matter of maintaining that level which is difficult when you're away from home and the opposition plays."
QPR (5-4-15) have yet to announce a permanent replacement for Harry Redknapp, who resigned suddenly as manager early last week. Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond will against take temporary charge of the team.
Rangers remain second from bottom on 19 points after losing 1-0 at home against Southampton on Saturday, with Senegal midfielder Sadio Mane grabbing the winner for the Saints deep into stoppage time.
The Hoops are without a win in seven league matches (0-2-5), with their last top-flight victory coming Dec. 20 when they beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2 at Loftus Road.
Despite their perilous position, midfielder Joey Barton insists Rangers can escape relegation.
"There's a long way to go and there's almost no pressure on us – everyone sort of thinks we are going to go down so I'm quietly confident," Barton said. "It would be very foolish to isolate anybody and that includes Leicester who are below us in the table.
"If we roll our sleeves up at Sunderland on Tuesday night and get something there and all of a sudden the perspective changes a little bit and then hopefully we have some definite news on who is going to take this club forward and we can start to move in the right direction."
QPR's road form has been abysmal, and they have lost all 11 of their away league matches. Only six teams have failed to win a game on the road all season during the Premier League era, the most recent being the 2009-10 Hull City squad that claimed only six draws in 19 matches.
Sunderland will be without midfielder Lee Cattermole (knee) and striker Connor Wickham (calf), while midfielder Jack Rodwell (groin) remains doubtful.
Two key Rangers players, Charlie Austin and Richard Dunne, suffered injuries against Southampton and will have scans to determine the seriousness of their knocks. Striker Austin, who is QPR's leading scorer with 13 goals, hurt his foot while defender Dunne damaged a knee.
Austin scored a first-half winner as Rangers beat Sunderland 1-0 at Loftus Road on Aug. 30 in this season's reverse fixture.