Kevin Phillips says Sunderland desperately need a boost before some January transfer activity.
The Black Cats have two key home games coming up - against Liverpool tonight and bottom-of-the-table Aston Villa on Saturday - as they battle against relegation.
And Stadium of Light legend Phillips is hoping his former team can pick up some points to give them some momentum going into the new year.
“They have got to get two positive results going into January and then try to improve the squad,” Phillips, now assistant coach at Derby County, told TalkSport.
“They have Liverpool tonight and then a huge game against Villa - another of my former clubs - who look doomed.
“If they can get points and take some impetus into the new year, they could take heart from what Leicester did last year (in climbing away from near-certain relegation).
“Sunderland are struggling to score goals and to keep clean sheets. But they haven’t conceded many goals at the Stadium of Light lately. They could do with a boost, it’s been a rough time for the club and the fans.”
The transfer window opens on Friday, and Cats boss Sam Allardyce is hopeful of getting in some new faces quickly.
Spurs winger Andros Townsend is believed to be a major target.