James Perch has started the mind games ahead of QPR’s meeting with former club Newcastle tomorrow night.
The Rangers’ right-back cranked up the pressure on Rafa Benitez’s side by agreeing they are everyone’s favourites to make an immediate return to the Premiership as Championship winners.
And with all eyes on Newcastle and fellow big boys Aston Villa in football’s second tier, Perch believes his own side can make progress almost unnoticed.
Maybe a bit like this win at St James's in October 1993? Want a trip down Memory Lane?
“Teams like Newcastle and Villa have come down with that pressure of needing to go straight back up,” he said.
“With the squad Newcastle have got, the resources the manager and the fan base they are definitely the favourites.
“So the rest of the teams in the Championship now can go under the radar a little bit and keep all the pressure on those boys.
“At the same time we will hopefully be picking up points every week and before you know it be up there as well.”
Perch endured a tough start to his three seasons at St James’ Park back in 2010, becoming the first player ever to earn yellow cards in his first five Premier League appearances – a stat which didn’t endear him to the Toon army.
However, his versatility and a string of fine performances brought about a watershed, leading to chants of ‘We’ve got Perchinho’ from the Tyneside faithful.
It’s an affection the 30-year-old has never forgotten, even if friendships have to be suspended on the pitch for 90 minutes at least tomorrow.
“I wasn’t popular there at the start, but I managed to turn it around and I’ve got nothing but love for Newcastle the way they treated me and took to me,” he added.
“I had some really good times, really good games, so they are good memories.”