Niall Quinn has heaped praise on the way owner Stewart Donald has helped reconnect the club and it's passionate fanbase.
Quinn believes a conscious effort to reconnect with the fans plus the appointment of Jack Ross last summer were the two big calls that Donald & Co got right and helped give the club a base in which to revive its fortunes.
Sunderland are second in League One ahead of Saturday's home game with Coventry City (KO 3pm), with just six games of the campaign remaining.
Speaking to the club's main sponsor BETDAQ, former striker Quinn said: "I think what the new ownership did which was really, really good, they did two things which is so tough to do when you first go into a big football club - they got the people onside and made them believe. And they got a good manager.
"They are two big, big things to get right and fair play to Stewart and his team, they did that.
"That gives you a base to really work from and okay, sometimes you have to take a step back to take a step forwards.
"You have agents as soon as anything is going well trying to tempt them away, like we saw with Josh Maja. All things like that that can hold up progress.
"But what brings it through is a connection and when the fans are happy they create an atmosphere that makes the players enjoy being here and they love what they're doing.
"You had a connection that was broken here for the last few years but that's back now and when that's there you know there's hope.
"Just a little bit of luck now and things will go great."