Mark Hughes, whether he likes it or not, became an expert on anguish. He was a Manchester United forward who felt the strain until the club's vigil ended at last in 1993, when the league title came back to Old Trafford after that wait of 26 years. As Manchester City close on landing this year's prize, Hughes has a part in the tale as he brings to the Etihad a QPR side determined to be disruptive.

The visitors, after all, are just as motivated as City, since they lie only two points ahead of Bolton Wanderers, who are at the top of the relegation places. Hughes can still find time to appreciate the strain on City, who have not been champions of England since 1968. The QPR manager shows no signs of nursing vengeance towards Sunday's opponents, even if he was sacked by them in December 2009 after 18 months in charge.

He appreciates the vigil involved at United. "The longer it went on the harder it became and we had had a disappointment the year before that really made it difficult," he said. "Once we were able to do it then the next year became quite comfortable. So for City it's a massive thing because you think with the resources and supporters they have if they do it this year that could be the catalyst for everything in the future.

"City are playing well, they've got good form and you would expect them to be able to do the job, but it's not easy. They've got good players who have won championships and the World Cup and Champions Leagues, but they haven't done it as a group and that is the difference.

"City have got an FA Cup on the sideboard and that has helped them in understanding what it takes to win trophies, but the key one is the Premier League. Once the new owners came in that was their aim. They are within 90 minutes of it. They have got good players who have come together as a group but it's still difficult for them."

Hughes understands the apprehension that lurks within men so close to a great prize. "If we can frustrate them and play on the little bit of frustration they will undoubtedly have, that can transfer itself to the crowd," he said. "If we have a moment in the game where we have an opportunity we've got to take it because it's of huge importance to ourselves."

"I enjoyed my time at City. It was difficult when I came in because they were basically a mid-table club. It changed quickly [with Sheikh Mansour's takeover] and we were asked to be something we weren't capable of being. But we worked exceptionally hard. There were huge changes and everyone had to change quickly. You had to get on board. We got to a point where I thought we were on the cusp of something that I thought was going to be realty special.

"For whatever reason, I wasn't given that opportunity in my time there. It was a positive time in my career and I am pleased that it happened. I have my own managerial career."

At the Etihad on Sunday, he may make an unforgettable mark by denying City the title, even if that outcome will be very hard to attain.