Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is looking for four wins in the final eight games to clinch Premier League survival.
The scrap restarts today with a home clash against Tony Pulis’s 11th-placed West Bromwich Albion.
Here we look back at the last five meetings on Wearside. Sunderland have just won one of the five, with two draws and two defeats, despite scoring eight goals.
Going back further into the mists of time, the last 20 games in Sunderland have seen six wins apiece and eight draws.
Sunderland 0 West Brom 0
February 21, 2015
Frustrated Sunderland were forced to settle for a 13th draw of the season after they were unable to find a way past resilient West Brom.
However, a seventh goalless draw of the campaign owed much to the officials after Sunderland saw a legitimate effort ruled out for offside, while Baggies defender Joleon Lescott was fortunate to escape with only a yellow card.
Sunderland were much-improved from the previous two games and dominated in term of possession and territory, yet just couldn’t find a way past a stubborn West Brom outfit, who showed minimal attacking ambition.
Lescott was lucky not to be sent off within the first five minutes for fouling Danny Graham when he would have been through on goal, while Adam Johnson wrongly saw a goal ruled out on the stroke of half-time.
But while Sunderland remained in the ascendancy in the second half, they couldn’t manage a breakthrough, albeit they extended the gap with the relegation zone to three points.
Sunderland 2 West Brom 0
May 7, 2014
Sunderland ensured Premier League survival thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win over West Brom.
The Black Cats only required a solitary point to confirm safety, yet registered all three against the Baggies to move up to 14th in the table and send Norwich City into the Championship.
Jack Colback gave Sunderland the early lead they craved when he steered home Marcos Alonso’s cross before Fabio Borini converted Seb Larsson’s sublime pass for a stunning second goal.
It was no more than Sunderland deserved after thoroughly dominating the visitors during the opening 45 minutes.
West Brom improved marginally after the break, yet Jozy Altidore and Santiago Vergini both spurned glorious opportunities to put the game to bed.
But Gus Poyet’s men coasted to a fourth successive Premier League victory - for the first time since 2000 - to complete their great escape.
Sunderland 2 West Brom 4
November 24, 2012
Sunderland suffered a third successive Stadium of Light defeat after they were unable to complete a second-half fightback against high-flying West Brom.
Martin O’Neill’s Black Cats arguably produced their best football of the season in the opening 30 minutes, yet found themselves 2-0 down at the interval.
Zoltan Gera produced a stunning strike for the opener before Shane Long pounced on a catastrophic error from Simon Mignolet to double the advantage.
Without the injured Lee Cattermole, Sunderland struggled to offer the same attacking thrust in the second half but reduced the arrears with 17 minutes to go when Craig Gardner’s deflected free-kick found the net.
Sunderland’s hopes of a comeback looked over when Adam Johnson was adjudged to have fouled Liam Ridgewell in the area with a needless lunge, although replays showed there was minimal contact. Romelu Lukaku netted the resulting spot-kick.
But they restored some hope with four minutes to go when Stephane Sessegnon tucked home the rebound from a corner after Steven Fletcher’s header was kept out.
Sunderland pushed hard for a dramatic late leveller, but the Baggies added a fourth in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Marc-Antoine Fortune netted on the counter-attack.
Sunderland 2 West Brom 2
October 1, 2011
Sunderland recovered from going two goals down inside the first five minutes to gain a well-deserved point.
And at the final whistle home fans did not know whether to applaud or boo after seeing their side dominate the second half without being able to get a winner which would have put the seal on an open and entertaining game.
Albion took the lead just four minutes into the game when James Morrison was allowed to head home Chris Brunt’s inswinging free-kick far too easily.
And the visitors doubled their lead within 60 seconds when Chris Brunt’s tackle only served to put the ball into the path of Shane Long’s run on goal – the Irish striker outpacing Michael Turner before slotting a low shot just inside Simon Mignolet’s right-hand post.
The mood could have turned ugly, but home fans commendably stuck behind their team and were rewarded when Sunderland produced a goal burst of their own midway through the first half – Nicklas Bendtner’s shot taking a deflection on its way in in the 24th minute before the Dane turned provider in the 27th minute - Ahmed Elmohamady heading his first Sunderland goal home in the 27th minute from the cross from the right.
Sunderland were barely anything other than on top after that, Albion having to rely on hopeful counter-attacks.
But, despite all their dominance, Sunderland could not find a winner and had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Sunderland 2 West Brom 3
April 9, 2011
Sunderland twice threw away the lead to drop back to 13th place in the Premier League, and still not safe from the threat of the drop.
It looked as though the Black Cats were on their way past the 40-point safety mark when they took an 11th-minute lead – Asamoah Gyan’s cross from the left deflected goalwards and visiting defender Nicky Shorey heading past Scott Carson under pressure from Ahmed Elmohamady.
Albion equalised just before the half-hour when Sunderland failed with some basic defending and striker Peter Odemwingie capitalised, stretching to turn the ball past Simon Mignolet.
The Wearsiders almost instantly regained the lead when Phil Bardsley smashed a free-kick home after Gyan had been brought down 20 yards out.
The second half might have gone either way but Steve Bruce’s Sunderland gradually unravelled, visibly wilting as Albion took heart from the home team’s nervy play.
The visitors levelled in the 54th minute through another scrappy goal, Albion passing it around static Sunderland players and Odenwingie given far too much time to find Youssouf Mulumbu who scuffed a shot home from 10 yards out.
Sunderland were indebted to a fantastic performance from Mignolet to keep them in it.
But there was nothing he could do about Albion’s 72nd-minute winner, the visitors once again given the freedom of the park before Odemwingie found Paul Scharner 12 yards out and he passed the ball home.