Martin O'Neill will be backed with cash by Sunderland chairman Ellis Short in January despite the manager guiding his side to just two wins in 22 games.
But how does the current gaffer compare to the nightmare Premier League reigns of Howard Wilkinson and Mick McCarthy? Wilkinson was sacked in March 2003, despite having only taken over in October 2002, as the club notched just 19 points all season, while McCarthy's Black Cats went down with just 15 points in 2006.
Sunderland when Howard Wilkinson took over
Wilko took charge after Peter Reid was given his marching orders in October 2002. It was a horrid time to be a Sunderland fan and the former Leeds manager could only manage two wins in 20 games, with victories against Tottenham and Liverpool.
Sunderland when Howard Wilkinson was sacked in March 2003
Big Mick was tasked with salvaging some dignity in the final nine games of the season, but they dropped off the bottom of the Premier League ladder with a whimper, losing all their remaining fixtures. Sunderland eventually returned to the top flight under McCarthy in 2005, though the excitement of racking up 94 points in the Championship didn't last and the former Ireland manager was sacked in March 2006 with the club 16 points from safety, having recorded 22 losses in 28 games.
Sunderland under Martin O'Neill in 2012/13
January looks to be make or break for the Northern Irishman. Our very own Stan Collymore has written about why O'Neill desperately needs funds for additional firepower up front, while new faces in midfield to back up the forwards would not go amiss, either. While O'Neill's Sunderland are finding wins as difficult to come by as his unsuccessful predecessors, they are harder to beat, so they will easily break the paltry 15-point barrier set under McCarthy, as well as the equally dismal 19 from Wilkinson's time in 2002/03, but that's far from a guarantee they will stay up.
Do you think O'Neill needs to be backed and given time in January? Comment below...