Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone has urged Sam Allardyce to remain as manager even if he does not manage to keep the club in the Barclays Premier League.
The Black Cats face a potentially pivotal trip to Norwich on Saturday knowing defeat there would leave them seven points adrift of safety with just five games to play, and with one foot in the Sky Bet Championship.
It is four years since the club last finished a season with the same manager with which it had set out, and Mannone believes Allardyce, who has insisted he will not make a decision on his future until the summer, is the man to lead it into whatever challenge it faces in the new campaign.
He told the Journal: "Obviously the manager needs to stay. If he's here and we do stay up, it's going to be a good base for this club to finally get what it's able to achieve.
"I've always said that this club has the potential to be a very good one. We have to start by being in a better part of the table, trying to achieve a higher position.
"But from there, you've seen what teams like Stoke and Swansea have done. They've done magnificently.
"Leicester are a great example and they've done it so quickly, but I think there's the base and the right man in charge to be in a better position."
Allardyce, 61, signed a two-year deal when he replaced Dick Advocaat in October last year with Sunderland lying just one place off the foot of the table, and they are currently one place better off.