The Black Cats may be rooted in the bottom three, but they have reason to be optimistic... for now.
They possess something that few around them don't... A goalscorer
The diminutive front man could give them the edge in the remaining seven fixtures.
It's in their hands - They may be four points adrift of safety but, for now at least, the Black Cats control of their own destiny.
They have a game in hand on 17th-place Norwich City, who host them at Carrow Road next weekend. Winning both of those fixtures would allow them to overtake the Canaries, other results permitting.
History - If there's one thing Sunderland are good at, it's lulling their fellow strugglers into a false sense of security.
It's four seasons since the Wearsiders ended a campaign comfortably, with Sam Allardyce their fourth different manager in that time.
In two of the previous three campaigns, the club has survived by three points following a late surge in the final few weeks, while in 2013-14 they overcame a worrying spell to escape the drop by five points - finishing as high as 14th on that occasion.
Can we expect a repeat performance this time around?