With the January transfer window looming, what bargains could Chris Coleman pick up to spark Sunderland’s season into life?
The Black Cats boss will be shopping on a tight budget as he looks for reinforcements to boost their survival bid.
So as Coleman plans his first foray into the market, we a look at five players who could be brought to the Stadium of Light.
Four of them are out of contract next summer - and therefore likely to be available next month for rock-bottom prices - and one of them a free agent.
But all of them potentially capable of addressing Sunderland’s glaring weaknesses across all areas of the pitch.
Darren Bent (striker) - Derby County – out of contract in June 2018
Yes - we know, we know. But hear us out here...
Having scored 36 goals in 63 appearances in his first stint at Sunderland, Bent also has vast Championship experience, having since scored 44 in 123 outings for Derby, Ipswich and Brighton.
Yes, he left Wearside under a cloud – but it was nothing like as dark as the one currently hanging over the Stadium of Light.
And a strike rate anything close to his overall career record would provide a serious silver lining to Sunderland’s stormy skies.
Adam Hammill (winger) - Barnsley – out of contract in June 2018
A tricky, Aiden McGeady-esque player – although hopefully a little more consistent - Hammill would excite fans at the Stadium of Light due to his direct running which scares defenders.
Known for scoring long-range screamers, the winger is in his final year at Oakwell and has not yet scored this season.
But if he can rediscover the Championship form which saw him claim 12 assists for Huddersfield in 2013-14, Hammill would still be a force to be reckoned with.
Mark Bunn (goalkeeper) - Aston Villa – out of contract in June 2018
Bunn is currently out of favour at Aston Villa but could he be the man to solve Sunderland’s goalkeeping woes?
Both Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter have had spells in the team but neither has gone even close to convincing they are worthy of the No 1 job at the Stadium of Light.
Bunn would bring experience from six league clubs - including Norwich City when they were in the top flight – to Wearside.
Steven Caulker (defender) - Queens Park Rangers – out of contract in June 2018
Sunderland’s chronic lack of clean sheets and Caulker’s chronic lack of football could make for needs-must partnership.
Although only 25, Caulker has had a whirlwind career, with spells at eight clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham and Swansea.
But after finding himself out of favour at QPR this season, the centre-back needs to see regular action if he is ever to deliver on the promise which prompted both The Rs and Spurs to pay around £10million for him.
Mark Davies (midfielder) - free agent
A wildcard shout due to being dogged with injuries but Davies offers the type of creative midfield spark which could be useful for the Black Cats.
Although released by Bolton in the summer, he has remained at the Macron Stadium to build up his fitness with the Wanderers medical staff.
At still just 29, Sunderland could offer the perfect final chance for Davies to prove he is not finished in the professional game, so he will lack nothing in appetite.