QPR boss backs Simon Grayson and offers revealing insight into playing at the Stadium of Light

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Ian Holloway has backed Simon Grayson to turn Sunderland's fortunes around - but insists a good atmosphere at home games is crucial.

The QPR boss believes the Black Cats would have been dead and buried had they added to Idrissa Sylla's first half header, with the Stadium of Light a 'hard place to play' given Sunderland's dismal home form, with no win in 17 games.

Lewis Grabban evades a challenge.

Lewis Grabban evades a challenge.

The atmosphere had threatened to turn toxic, with ironic cheers for every successful pass, before Aiden McGeady popped up with a stunning equaliser.

Holloway said visiting teams know the atmosphere can play into their hands.

"We needed the second goal in the game, if we had done the atmosphere would have helped us, not them," said Holloway.

"Unfortunately that is what Simon's inherited and that's how everybody feels round here at the moment.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

Sunderland boss Simon Grayson.

"My shout to everybody would be this is a brilliant club, you still have the support and those lads out there still need some help.

"Two extra points would have made all the difference and taken some of the pressure of you.

"But pressure is a wonderful thing to have, if you are the manager of this club [Sunderland] and I am lucky to be manager of my club, what do we have to moan about? Nothing at all really, I have to say.

"Supporters come and keep coming, I would strongly suggest your team has ups and downs but you wear that shirt for the rest of your life.

"I was hoping we got a second goal, boy oh boy, it is a hard place to play then."

Holloway, who replaced Grayson as Blackpool manager in 2009, has backed Grayson to revive Sunderland's fortunes.

"I have always been a big fan of Simon's because I took over a club in brilliant shape when he left and went to Leeds," said Holloway.

"He left me with some wonderful characters and I managed to help add to that group.

"When you take over a football club, if you don't have good characters then it isn't half hard until you can get out the ones who aren't good characters, who might be on far too much money, who are not your signings and not helping the football club.

"I'm not saying he has got that, I'm just saying how difficult it can be.

"Without stability it is very, very, very difficult and what you need is a good atmosphere at home to make sure your lads feel nurtured, cherished, loved and encouraged because they need

that when it is going wrong.

"Ask yourselves 'are we giving them that or should they have to earn that right to deserve it because they are on so much money?'

"I know how I feel. When I go and watch my team, I support even if they are losing.

"It depends on how you feel, this [Stadium of Light] is a wonderful place, the people are wonderful, I have had some great and bad times here but it is always a joy to come back and I just hope that Simon feels like that one day because he deserves that in my opinion.

"The jobs he has done and where he has been. Give him time and support, he is a wonderful fella."