BAILEY WRIGHT has urged his Sunderland team-mates to continue backing themselves as they look to maintain their strong start to the Championship season.

The Black Cats host QPR tomorrow looking to continue the impressive return to the second tier that has seen them pick up four points from their opening two league matches against Coventry and Bristol City.

Alex Neil’s side suffered a first defeat in 18 games as they exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night, but that loss came in a match that saw the Sunderland boss change all 11 members of his starting side.

Tomorrow’s line-up could see all of the players that started at Ashton Gate last weekend return to the starting XI, and Wright sees no reason why confidence should have been dented by this week’s setback in the League Cup.

“I think we’ve got a real top-quality group of players and staff, and a togetherness which is a strength of ours,” said Wright, who opted to re-sign for Sunderland this summer despite an offer to return to his homeland in Australia.

“Of course, the Championship is a stronger division and there are levels and it’s definitely gone up a notch. Everyone has expectations, there are some big spenders, really strong squads and depth, but we have that too.

“We have a really good squad and I think we will back ourselves to get stronger and stronger throughout the season.”

Wright started Wednesday’s defeat at Hillsborough, but has been on the bench for the opening two games of the league campaign with Neil opting to start with Dan Ballard and Danny Batth as his first-choice centre-halves.

The Australia international is keen to break into the league line-up with a place at this winter’s World Cup in Qatar potentially hanging in the balance, but is adamant he will be a team player whatever happens in the next few months.

“We all have the same goal and want to do really well this season, and all need each other,” he said. “There's a togetherness we’ve got throughout the group."