Connor Wickham insists that Sunderland are on the up ahead of the visit of Liverpool in spite of their poor run of results.
The Black Cats have managed to pick up just one point since conquering rivals Newcastle for the fourth successive time.
But Gus Poyet's side have six points more than they did this time last year and Wickham has seen definite progress.
“But we’re not in the same situation we were last year. We’re miles ahead compared to last season which is a big positive.
“It’s something we can use going forwards, because now it’s about getting up that table and killing games off as soon as we can."
Liverpool are the next opponents at the Stadium of Light, which seems to be a daunting task on paper, but Wickham is full of confidence.
“Maybe people can say Liverpool aren’t the team they were last year. They’re missing players," he explained.
“We probably should have taken three points from Anfield not so long ago.
“Now it’s down to us to do that on our ground this time.”