It's official - we're in to miracle season - the average start for each of Sunderland's last five great escapes has been the 12th April with 6.5 games to go. Is this one too big an ask, or is there a chance we're about to embark on another last-gasp bid for safety?
Has it ever looked this bad? Probably not. Sunderland are staring down the barrel and barring a miraculous change in fortune will be mathematically relegated in a couple of weeks' time.
The only thing left to cling to is the fading belief that this club never says never and has escaped the drop by the skin of its teeth with a barnstorming finish in each of the last four campaigns.
With a dismal current run of form comprising six points in the last thirteen games and no goals scored in the last half dozen, there's precious little else on which to base any kind of hope than the we've done it before argument.
But, perhaps it's just been too early up until now. After all, the great escapes don't traditionally start until all rational hope is lost. The start dates for previous 'unlikely' final runs have all waited until the second and third weekends in April - pretty much right about now.
2015-16 - 16th April, six games to go
Sam Allardyce's Sunderland had been picking up points since February at a rate which had kept pace with the pack above but at a snail's pace. A run of five draws in seven matches culminated in defeat at home to Leicester and things looked bleak. But Big Sam took his side to Norwich and whopped them 3-0 - a result which would kick-start a survival push of twelve points in the final six games.
2014-15 - 8th April, eight games to go
After a terrible home thrashing by four-goals-to-nil, Sunderland dispensed of Gus Poyet and appointed Dick Advocaat on a temporary basis. With eight games remaining, the veteran Dutch coach kicked off his great escape with victory at Newcastle. A further defeat would follow against Crystal Palace but that preceded a run of two victories and three draws which would see the Black Cats safe with a week to spare.
2013-14 - 16th April, six games to go
The most amazing of the lot. Seven points adrift of safety albeit with two games in hand, Gus Poyet would watch his side get thrashed by 5-1 by Tottenham and declare Sunderland needed a miracle. The gods were listening but would toy with the Mackems for a week or so delivering another defeat at the hands of Everton. Sunderland then drew against Manchester City before inexplicably winning four games in a row, including three points each at trips to Chelsea and Manchester United, to save themselves.
2012-13 - 14th April, six games to go.
Paulo Di Canio had replaced Martin O'Neill at the end of March 2013 losing his first game in charge at Chelsea before delivering that glorious derby victory at St James Park with six games remaining. Sunderland would gain a further five points and drag themselves to safety with three points to spare.
Is there any hope left then?
So there you go - average start date 12th April with 6.5 games to go. Today is the 9th April with 8 games to go. It's miracle season - right? If Sunderland pull this one off it, it may well be the biggest of the lot. But, with Hull ten points ahead of us and with two games in hand on them, we only need to win that pair and beat the Tigers in early May to haul ourselves to within a point of them.
It can be done, we just have to beat Manchester United first. But let's just believe for a few hours - until 3.15 pm anyway.