The Black Cats enter their must-win home encounter with Aston Villa currently occupying 19th position in the Premier League table, seven points adrift of 17th-placed Swansea City.
Allardyce’s side kick off 2016 by hosting Villa, the only team below them in the table and one which is currently enduring a club record 18 league games without victory.
The Sunderland boss is under no illusions that his side must win, and the former Bolton Wanderers manager believes that with the way things are shaping up, 38 points will suffice in their bid to avoid the drop.
“What we need is 38 points,' the Mirror quotes Allardyce as saying. "All the top boys are slipping up, so the points will go somewhere else.
“The top four or five are not achieving as many points as they normally do, whether those points go to teams in the middle of the table or the bottom we shall have to wait and see.”
The Stadium of Light outfit have won only twice at home all season, a record which must change if they are to have any chance of avoiding dropping down to the Championship.
Unfortunately for Allardyce, a number of so-called winnable home games against the likes of Newcastle United, Swansea, Norwich City, Watford and Stoke City have already come and gone.
It makes Sunderland’s task of staying up all the more difficult, and one can only presume that a failure to beat Villa would leave them with arguably too much work to do.