Don't do QPR any favours - Poyet
Gus Poyet has urged his resurgent Sunderland team not to become the first to surrender a Barclays Premier League point to struggling QPR on their own pitch.
Managerless Rangers head for the Stadium of Light on Tuesday night having emerged empty-handed from each of their previous 11 league games away from home, a return which has piled the pressure on them at Loftus Road.
They will arrive on Wearside sitting in 19th place in the table and in desperate need of ending their travel sickness if they are to drag themselves out of relegation trouble.
However, Black Cats head coach Poyet knows that record will end sooner rather than later, and he does not want it to happen at the 12th attempt.
He said: "If you asked me if I would expect any team to lose every single game away from home in one season, I would say to you: 'No'.
"Now that they can go one extra in the wrong way, it's up to us. Of course they have got a part to play, but sooner or later it should change, I suppose.
"I would be very surprised if they don't get any points in the whole season away from home, very, very surprised."
QPR remain in a state of flux after the surprise departure of manager Harry Redknapp last week and with a replacement yet to be appointed amid speculation that Poyet's former Tottenham team-mate Tim Sherwood could join forces with another one-time colleague Les Ferdinand, the club's newly-appointed director of football.
In the meantime, caretaker Chris Ramsey faces the task of trying to steady the ship, and he will do so in the north east without the services of injured striker Charlie Austin, whose 13 goals to date have kept the club in touch.
Asked if his absence was a bonus, Poyet said: "Yes, yes. When you have got a player like Austin who is making the difference and winning games for you - like he did against us - if he doesn't play, it should be a bonus.
"When a big player is missing, the other team should take advantage."
Sunderland, who pulled off a remarkable escape act last season, are only five points better off than the Londoners in 14th place, but have belatedly established a momentum with league and cup victories over Burnley and Fulham respectively and a hard-earned point as Swansea on Saturday.
Further success against QPR and Sky Bet League One outfit Bradford in the fifth round of the FA Cup could give their season a very different complexion, and Poyet will allow no let-up.
He said: "The idea is not to stop. We need to keep going, we need to keep believing. We knew halfway through the season that we had plenty of important games at home.
"We were not very good at home in the first part of the season, so we need to improve that, and that means winning games and tomorrow, we have got another great opportunity, so it's just playing the game to win as much as we can without excuses."
January signing Jermain Defoe has been key to that revival with two goals in his first five appearances, and his exploits have had a knock-on effect with his team-mates.
Poyet said: "We know that if we do our job, if we create, if we keep the ball, if we pass it and if we find Jermain in certain areas, then he will do it because he has done it all his life.
"It's not like he is 60 years old. He's 32, so he still has the ability to find the net and that brings the rest confidence which helps a lot."
Striker Connor Wickham is available after a calf problem, but midfielders Jack Rodwell and Emanuele Giaccherini are likely to miss out once again.