Mark Hughes says he would be “very surprised” if his old club failed to win the league title.

Hughes says Manchester United title win almost inevitable

Nevertheless, Sparky is determined his QPR side can cause a temporary setback when they travel to Old Trafford on Sunday.

“I think at this stage of the season there is a little bit of a sense of inevitability,” the Welshman said.

“United have been in this situation so many times before, City haven’t and I think that can be key in this situation.

“You sense that United are looking at fixtures, taking each game on its merits and just ticking off games they have to play from now until the end of the season.

“Obviously we’re hopeful that we’re going to have a performance that will upset that plan in terms of what United expect from the game.

“That is certainly our intention and we’re not just going there to lie down and lose the game.

“Our intention is to get something out of the game because of the situation we find ourselves in.

“We’ll make it difficult for them but certainly sense that, because of the situation and the turnaround that has occurred, United are in the box seat.

“You would be very surprised if they lost it from the position they find themselves in now.”

While United will hope to edge closer to retaining the title, QPR’s aspirations are at the other end of the table.

The Hoops are running out of games to stave off relegation but head to the north west on the back of a morale-boosting 2-1 victory against Arsenal.

“The three points was the main thing but the pleasing part from my point of view was the manner of the performance,” Hughes said.

“I think from start to finish it was a good, solid performance and we had a good understanding of what we had to do to go and get a result against them.

“The lads went out and performed to the letter so really, from my point of view, we have to keep on replicating that and the application that we showed.

“The determination to see the game through to its conclusion was there for everybody to see so if we show that in the games we have remaining we will pick up more points, which is obviously the order of the day.”

Hughes will again be without Djibril Cisse for the trip to Old Trafford through suspension, although he can call upon DJ Campbell and Heidar Helguson once again.

Both strikers have been sidelined for more than two months, but top scorer Helguson returns from a groin injury and summer signing Campbell is back after a hamstring problem.

“They are in the squad and are available,” he said. “They have obviously had more work this week and they are an option.

“DJ is probably a little more ahead than Heidar because he has had a couple more weeks training, but they are both available.”

Adel Taarabt is also in the squad despite pictures emerging this week of him smoking a shisha pipe with Arsenal’s Marouane Chamakh.

Asked if he had been punished by the club, Hughes said: “No, not at all.

“I saw the picture. If you’re a professional athlete, you shouldn’t really smoke but a lot of players do.

“I think what Adel was doing with his friends was a social activity and that is how he relaxes.

“As with everything in life, if it is done in moderation then it shouldn’t have an impact on you.

“But he is a professional athlete so, from my point of view, I wouldn’t encourage it.”