Back in February, Chinese New Year was celebrated by welcoming in the year of the Ox; a stern animal with horns so fierce they could pierce a hole through your skin.
Coincidentally, the year of the ox is turning out to be fiercely similar for Sunderland. They have been a rampaging animal, a team who aren’t letting anybody stand in their way of promotion.
They are third in League One at the moment, five points off top spot with a game in hand. A place in the Championship, therefore, is well and truly in their hands.
If they do go up, then it looks as though a spending spree could take place. It’s already been revealed that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus is sitting on a mere £60m to invest in the club – hopefully on transfers.
Of course, they won’t spend all of it one go but a player who could help them start life in a new division with a bang is Jordan Jones.
Like an Ox, the Rangers loanee has been bullish in his approach since arriving, penetrating holes in the opposition defence with unrelenting energy and force.
Charlie Wyke may have stolen the show in the early stages of the campaign, but it’s Jones who has helped to take Lee Johnson’s side to a new level during the run-in.
He recently missed four games, including the EFL Trophy final with a muscle injury, but he was back to his breathtaking best against Oxford United on Good Friday.
With an ingenious moment of trickery, the winger beat Jamie Hanson with absolute ease, leading him a merry dance like some sort of matador before pushing the ball past him following two step-overs.
It was a flash of brilliance that was worth his weekly salary 10x over as he skipped past the defender and then laid the ball on a plate for Lynden Gooch to fire home.
Such has been his brilliant start to life south of the border, he now wants to stay. Football Insider reported this week that Jones was keen on sealing a permanent switch to the Stadium of Light.
With the likes of Stoke and Middlesbrough also in the race to sign him, a Championship berth will surely be crucial to Sunderland’s chances of luring him back from Glasgow.
It would be an excellent piece of business, one that helps the Mackems’ new owner to lift the club from the doldrums of League One to a club in with a chance of reaching the Premier League again.
The nine cap Northern Irishman is a cut above the third tier and in the words of Kevin Phillips, the forward has “real class”.
Jones took a while to settle in the north-east but the 26-year-old has been nothing short of exceptional in recent months. In his last four outings, the Rangers man has three assists and one goal to his name.
A player with pace, trickery and energy, he typifies Sunderland under Johnson. He’d be an exquisite capture if they go up.