Dick Advocaat has revealed that he believes his Sunderland side need six points to secure their Premier League safety.
But how realistic is it that the Black Cats will achieve such a target, and will it even be enough?
Aside from their seemingly biannual derby victory against Newcastle three weeks ago, the Wearside club have failed to turn things around under the Dutchman.
Three defeats in their last four sees Sunderland just one point clear of the bottom three at 4/5 to be playing Championship football next season.
They have a game in hand against QPR and Burnley at the foot of the table, but that may well not be enough to save them.
Looking at their remaining fixtures, it takes an optimistic Mackem to easily single out six points from their games still to play.
The Britannia Stadium may not be quite the fortress Stoke City turned it into under Tony Pulis, but they are still a fearsome bunch on their own patch.
Four wins in their last six in Staffordshire, including victories over Everton and Southampton suggest Advocaat’s men could become just another statistic.
Then on to a visit of Southampton, a side who are boasting the stingiest defence in the Premier League. With Sunderland netting just three times in their last eight in all competitions, a bore draw looks the best they can hope for.
A trip to Everton, with a desperation for points looks next up and with Romelu Lukaku claiming that the Toffees have learnt how to ‘win ugly’, and Roberto Martinez’s men on a five game winning streak at home, it could be a sticky situation for the north-east outfit.
Rounding off the season, ties against Arsenal and Chelsea will have many a Stadium of Light season-ticket holder biting their nails in nervousness.
The way they are playing, it looks certain that they will have needed to pick up the requisite points before these fixtures, as anything other than two defeats looks unlikely.
That brings us back to what could be judgement day, April 16th – a visit of Leicester City that could define the season for both clubs.
While it is four weeks away, the form the Foxes have been showing lately, winning three straight games, doesn’t bode well for their relegation rivals.
And with the two sides seemingly moving in opposite directions, it could be a case of Nigel Pearson’s men condemning Sunderland to the drop, especially if they pick up the predicted solitary point en route to the clash.
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