When he first arrived at the Stadium of Light, Sam Allardyce ring-fenced the opening eight games of his tenure.
By that stage of the season – when Sunderland would have played 16 of their 38 Premier League fixtures – Allardyce set the modest target of having double-figure points on the board.
In safety terms, 15 points from 16 games, considering where we started, would be unbelievableSam Allardyce
Sunderland fulfilled that objective a fortnight ago when they triumphed against Stoke City at the Stadium of Light.
But today’s visit of Watford marks the end of that initial eight-game period of Allardyce’s tenure, with Sunderland having the opportunity to take their points tally to 15 from 16 top-flight outings.
Considering Sunderland had just three points from eight when Allardyce arrived on Wearside, the Black Cats boss insists that would represent a huge transformation in the relegation battle.
“That would be magnificent!” said Allardyce.
“If you times the next eight games at 12 points, and the next eight, and the next eight, we’ll be over 50 points for the season, which is 10th or better.
“That’s how big a turnaround it would be if we beat Watford.
“In safety terms, 15 points from 16 games, considering where we started, would be unbelievable.
“But we’ve got to make sure we’re on top form to beat Watford.
“We have to be 100 per cent to beat anybody.
“We need to win the game for a four wins in eight games process which will give us 12 points from eight matches.
“That would be a fantastic start for me and a fantastic achievement to get out of the trouble we’re in.
“If we can do it, it would be a massive achievement in terms of where we started from.”
Sunderland sank back into the relegation zone after defeat at Arsenal last weekend was coupled by shock wins for Bournemouth and Newcastle.
But if Sunderland can beat Watford and climb back out of the bottom three, Allardyce believes it will be a psychological boost to his players.
“Irrespective of what everyone says, players have a look at it and the pressure is always on when you’re in the bottom three,” he added.
“To relieve that pressure, you have to win football matches.”