Sam Allardyce has been tipped to keep Sunderland in the Premier League by Black Cats legend Kevin Phillips.
Allardyce's opening four games in charge at the Stadium of Light have resulted in just three points - the derby day win over Newcastle United.
Three defeats out of four since Dick Advocaat resigned leaves relegation favourites Sunderland 19th in the top flight, four points from safety.
And with a tricky fixture away at Crystal Palace to come on Monday night, it could get worse before it gets better for Sunderland fans.
But Phillips believes there are reasons for optimism under Big Sam, who has never been relegated from the Premier League.
“His history shows that he gets the best out of the players that he works with and that has been proved," said fan favourite Phillips, now a coach at Championship side Derby County.
“He's got his vast knowledge of sports science in football which is huge now.
"The analysis side of it is important and he knows everything about it all so that isn’t going to be hurdle that he needs to get over.
“The players respect him because he is a no-nonsense kind of guy so you won’t cross him and if any of the players do then they’ll get punished so he’s clear.
“He gets his message across and when you listen to some of the players’ quotes he has given the lads clarity, so they know what he wants and he’ll certainly get the best out of the players," Phillips told the club website.