Struggling Sunderland can take inspiration from Brentford's stunning turnaround

Sunderland fans look dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light on September 13, 2015 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.

Brentford's prospects looked just as dire as Sunderland's earlier in the season, but they are now in the top half.

Lasse Vibe of Brentford and Lamine Kone of Sunderland challenge for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Sunderland at Griffin Park on October 21, 2017 in...

When Brentford and Sunderland met at Griffin Park last month, the Bees had won only once at home all season; the visitors raced into a 3-1 lead.

But Brentford responded to earn a draw and, against Leeds United on Saturday, won their next home match.

Dean Smith's side have very much turned their season around, collecting 19 points in a nine-game unbeaten run to climb up to 12th.

Dean Smith, manager of Brentford looks on during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Sunderland at Griffin Park on October 21, 2017 in Brentford, England.

Prior to that streak, the Bees had just three points from seven games and sat in the bottom three. They must be Sunderland's inspiration.

While a nine-game unbeaten run - including five wins - seems impossible right now for the Black Cats, who headed into Sunday's Tees-Wear derby bottom of the table, they surely boast a better squad than Brentford.

There are many cliches mentioned when discussing the Championship, but Brentford have shown that a series of positive results can turn a season around.

Fans make their way to the ground prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Sunderland at Griffin Park on October 21, 2017 in Brentford, England.

Sunderland - like the London club were - are on a torrid home run and that must be the first step on the road to recovery.

If the Black Cats appoint the right manager and beat Millwall at the Stadium of Light in their next game, they have to believe they can pull clear of danger - just as Brentford have.

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