QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hopes to capitalise on Sunderland’s early-season woes in tonight’s EFL Cup third round tie at Loftus Road.
Though the Hoops have struggled in recent games themselves, Hasselbaink believes the Londoners can progress into the last 16.
The former Leeds, Chelsea and Middlesbrough striker told qpr.co.uk: “Sunderland are in transition.
“Their manager came in late to the job in pre-season and that is never easy.
“We all have our difficulties, and he has his at the moment, but they are a Premier League side with a Premier League.
“We will see if it’s a good time to play them on Wednesday night, but we certainly believe it’s a game we can win.”
The 44-year-old added: “I think Sunderland will make changes following their recent run.
“They will have had a couple of busy days after Spurs on Sunday, travelling back to the North East and then back to London.
“They’re still searching for their way – and that will make for an interesting game I’m sure.”
Rangers, likely to make changes following back-to-back Championship defeats to Newcastle and Huddersfield, have Yeni Ngbakoto available again, while recent signings Idrissa Sylla and Pawel Wszolek are also poised to start.
“It’s a midweek game in the middle of a very busy period for us,” said Hasselbaink, “so we will have to assess the squad and see how some players are physically.
“We will be fielding a competitive side. This match will also give players who have been on the bench recently the opportunity to show what they can do for the team.
“We want to build momentum in the cup.
“We’ve won two games in this competition already and we want to keep going.
“We want to progress in this competition. We want to improve the club’s recent cup record.”
“When you’re winning, everything is good – when you’re losing, questions are asked,” he told www.qpr.co.uk.
“That’s football, at every level, and I am fully aware of that.
“I don’t for one minute doubt the character of these players though.
“We’ve had a couple of punches, now we have to wake up and get back to where we were before the international break.
“We need to get back on track and myself and the players are doing all we can to ensure we do that.
“It’s a time to stay calm, stick with our beliefs and work ethics, and stand up and take responsibility.”