Following the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace and results for teams around them not going their way, Sunderland's game with Southampton could be seen as a must win in most people's eyes, but they will be missing several key players for the important fixture.
The Black Cats will travel without both Lee Cattermole and Jermain Lens, which is a huge blow to Sam Allardyce's squad.
Cattermole was replaced just 15 minutes after coming off the bench in midweek, after colliding with Palace's Jordan Mutch, resulting in a cut above his eye. Allardyce confirmed that the tough tackling midfielder suffered a concussion from the blow, and due to Premier League rules he will be forced to miss this weekend's game.
Whilst Cattermole will certainly be a big miss in the cnetre of the park, few fans can complain at the Premier League for taking concussions so seriously nowadays. They are not the only sport that are looking at concussions with such extreme cautions, with rugby and boxing also taking a firmer stance.
Lens will also be unavailable to Allardyce as he continues to recover from a hernia suffered over a month ago against Manchester City. After undergoing surgery, the manager had hoped that he would be returning for this weekend's trip to Southampton, but a blood clot has meant that he is "not ready for this weekend."
He should be back fit, however, for the Tyne-Wear derby later this month.
It's not all bad news for Sunderland though as Big Sam does expect that the club's captain will be fit to feature. John O'Shea was brought off during the first half of the draw in midweek after suffering a calf injury, but Allardyce claims the clubs doctors "didn't see much on the scan" and believes that he is "ok" to play.
O'Shea was forced to watch his team capitulate in the second half against Palace after leading 1-0 at half time. Sloppy errors and a poor defensive second half allowed Palace to get back in to the game, and having O'Shea back to lead the team will be a huge boost ahead of this weekend.