The appointment of Sam Allardyce during a relegation battle usually entails shutting up shop, making your team hard to beat and eventually ensuring survival in the Premier League.
However, this edition of Sunderland team seems to be doing its very best to buck that trend. Despite yet another win over arch rivals Newcastle United, the Black Cats seem to be somewhat astray.
In fact, the former West Ham boss has even launched a scathing assessment on his struggling stars, admitting he is running out of options to keep the club afloat.
Still, it’s hard to ever truly write off a team with Big Sam at the helm, no matter the situation. There are some good players in the squad and the January transfer window is just around the corner.
Perhaps the ex-Newcastle chief can make his second spell in the North East a happier one than his time on Tyneside.
With that in mind, here are FIVE players Big Sam can sign to boost Sunderland’s survival chances…
The outcast Spurs wide man seems set to leave White Hart Lane this January, with Sunderland understood to be monitoring his situation. The England man would bring an urgency and directness to the Black Cats’ frontline not seen in quite a while.
His searing pace would provide an effective outlet to the defensive approach Big Sam is so famous for deploying. If only he had the defenders for it.
Still, the 24-year old is a fine option to be carrying the ball up the pitch to help ease the pressure on the backline, and his jet heeled runs often lead to cutting inside and shooting from distance. Would certainly add goals to this team.
While West Ham teammate James Collins was said to be a top transfer target, the Welshman has recently signed a new two-year deal to presumably end his career in East London. However, Big Sam could yet raid his former charges for another defender.
James Tomkins has been linked with a switch to Wearside in recent months in an effort to tighten up the rear-guard. Having been a Hammer his whole career, it would be a big move for the 26-year old.
However, he would more than likely be guaranteed a starting berth at the Stadium of Light and become one of their key players. Able to perform solidly at either centre-half, right-back or even in defensive midfield, the former England Under-21 star would surely help plug the gaps in defence.
It almost goes beyond a joke now that no Premier League towards the bottom end of the table has firmed up their interest in Charlie Austin. The man scored 18 goals in the Premier League last term. For QPR!
Though his teams are rarely renowned for their goalscoring prowess, Allardyce is in need of goals. With Fabio Borini largely ineffective in front of goal, they are certainly crying out for another striker.
Enter, Charlie Austin. Granted, splashing money on a 26-year old star with his contract due to expire in a few months is barely the soundest of financial moves. However, the man will score goals, maybe just enough to keep the club afloat.
Sunderland have conceded 37 goals this term, the most in the Premier League. Even more than Aston Villa. So, as much as goals are needed, the defence also clearly needs major work.
Lorient star Lamine Kone has been touted as a potential target as Big Sam looks to do exactly that. The 27-year old is a towering, athletic presence in the heart of defence and likely to add an element of pace and desire.
Paired next to the experienced (though somewhat cumbersome) Younes Kaboul, the younger man could provide all of the dirty work while the former Spurs captain marshals the defence.
Perhaps more of a left field suggestion, but Nottingham Forest midfielder Henri Lansbury is exactly the sort of player Sunderland are crying out for. He’s creative, tenacious and can commit opposition defenders into bringing him down.
With the problems surrounding Forest right now, perhaps a big money bid will be welcome. The former Arsenal youngster has earned his right to have another crack on the whip in the Premier League after some excellent form down in the second tier for a number of seasons.
His guile and determination is likely to help craft a better link between the midfield and attack.