Suddenly, things are looking bright at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland produced a sensational display to hammer fellow high-flyers Lincoln City 4-0 on the weekend as Lee Johnson picked up his first League One win at the helm with 20-year-old Jack Diamond one of the stars of the show.
With January not far away, the Black Cats have an opportunity to build on the recent positivity but must be careful to make the mistake of being too greedy.
The temptation will be to flood Johnson’s squad with fresh talent but over-recruiting could mean that Diamond, whose emergence could be one of the highlights of their season if it continues at its current rate, is starved of opportunities.
Fans have been calling out for the 20-year-old academy product to get a chance throughout the season and their new boss has done just that – putting faith in the winger and seeing instant rewards.
The big festive Sunderland quiz: Can you get 20/20?
Diamond was impressive in the win against Oldham Athletic last week and sparkled in the victory against Lincoln – scoring his first senior goal for the club and winning the penalty for the goal that sparked the victory.
Some personnel changes are needed at Sunderland and January gives them a fantastic opportunity to do that but the 20-year-old’s development should not be forgotten.
At Bristol City, Johnson helped some young players grow and thrive but he also blocked opportunities for others and signing too many new attacking options would likely do just that for Diamond.
The winger’s performances over the last week have shown us that would be a mistake as he is ready to contribute at first-team level.
The club’s poor treatment of young players has seen them left frustrated in the past, Bali Mumba’s move to Norwich City is a recent example of that, and they need to avoid doing the same again.
Should Sunderland’s takeover be completed soon, Johnson will likely have money to spend when the winter window opens.
He needs to be clever in the way he uses it and remember the talent that he has in his squad already or he could end up making decisions that both he and the club live to regret.