Beleaguered Sunderland will need to upset the odds to beat in-form Everton and revive their bid to avoid Premier League relegation.
Gus Poyet's side are rooted to the foot of the table, seven points from safety, after picking up just one point from their last seven top-flight matches.
The club's next three fixtures would appear to offer little room for optimism, with games at title contenders Manchester City and Chelsea following the visit of Everton.
By the time fellow strugglers Cardiff City arrive at the Stadium of Light on April 27, the situation could be beyond repair - something Poyet acknowledged following Monday night's 5-1 humbling at Tottenham.
"I think we need a miracle. We need something unique, a shock, because if not I cannot see it coming," said the Uruguayan.
The vibrant displays that brought a 3-0 derby victory at Newcastle United on February 1 - Sunderland's last league win - and gave Manchester City an almighty scare in last month's League Cup final are now a distant memory for Poyet.
By contrast, Roberto Martinez's Everton are very much on the crest of a wave following last Sunday's stirring 3-0 win over Arsenal at Goodison Park, a result that leaves them in control of their destiny when it comes to securing qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
On the same weekend Sunderland fell foul of City at Wembley, Everton beat West Ham 1-0 to launch a winning run that presently stands at six Premier League games.
Belgium international Romelu Lukaku came off the bench to net a late winner against West Ham following an injury lay-off, and the influence of the on-loan Chelsea striker on Everton's subsequent charge cannot be underestimated.
Deployed unconventionally on the right-hand side of Everton's attack last time out, he unsettled Arsenal's backline throughout and stormed in from the flank to score his 14th goal in 27 appearances for the Merseyside club.
A point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with a game in hand, Martinez's men are now emerging from their status as fancied outsiders to be seen as a team expected to succeed.
However, Everton will not be taking Sunderland lightly this weekend, having been beaten 1-0 in December's reverse fixture.
"They've had significant performances at home this season and they can replicate that level at any time," said Martinez of Sunderland on Thursday.
"We'll have to be at our best against a team that's ready to fight for every ball and you have to have the same level of focus and concentration.
"We remember the defeat at home against them and we need to be as good as we can be."
Martinez provided an update on midfielder Leon Osman, who was forced off early against Arsenal with a facial injury.
"Leon Osman is the only doubt we have. The cut is healing well but the eye is not fully open so we need to make sure that doesn't affect his vision," added the Spaniard.
|Coach: G. Poyet|
|AFC Champions League Preview: Evergrande, Al Hilal desperate for wins|
|MLS Review: DC United deny nine-man Revolution, Rapids break drought|
|Bielsa hints at Marseille departure, congratulates Ligue 1|
|Silva, Matuidi eye fourth trophy|
|Jonas deserved golden boot - Jorge Jesus|
|Primeira Liga Review: Benfica celebrate title with home win|
|Ligue 1 Review: Monaco seal final Champions League spot, Marseille take fourth|
|Ancelotti to take sabbatical if sacked by Real|
|Mancini annoyed by ´absurd´ Inter mistakes|
|Simeone hails ´incredible season´|
|Replacing Xavi will be impossible - Luis Enrique|
|Ronaldo hopes Ancelotti will stay|
|Guardiola: We´ll be back stronger|
|Paris Saint-Germain 3 Reims 2: Cavani double sees champions celebrate title with routine win|
|Garitano stands down following Eibar relegation|
|Genoa 3 Inter 2: Kucka strikes blow to visitors´ Europa quest|
|Real Madrid 7 Getafe 3: Ronaldo nets treble and Odegaard makes history|
|Southend United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1 (aet, 7-6 on penalties): Last-gasp Pigott and Bentley the hero|
|Odegaard becomes Real´s youngest player|
|Gargano omitted from Uruguay Copa America squad|
|La Liga Review: Depor save themselves with stunning comeback at Barca|
|Barcelona 2 Deportivo La Coruna 2: Salomao saves visitors as Xavi bids Camp Nou farewell|
|Granada 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Atleti secure third as hosts survive|
|Juventus 3 Napoli 1: Champions turn on the style|
|Tearful Klopp struggled to say goodbye|
|Scottish Premiership Review: Rangers to meet Motherwell in play-off final|
|Bundesliga Review: Freiburg and Paderborn relegated|
|Borussia Dortmund 3 Werder Bremen 2: Dortmund seal European spot as Klopp says farewell|
|Bayern Munich 2 Mainz 0: Schweinsteiger nets as champions celebrate title|
|Championship play-off final Preview: Karanka and Neil eye swift ascent to Premier League|
|Volland commits to Hoffenheim|
|Monk: Michu likely to move on|
|Allardyce not interested in Newcastle revenge|
|Sherwood confident of Benteke Villa stay|
|Rodgers calls on Liverpool fans to support Sterling|
|Khedira ´frozen out´ by Real|
|Hamstring injury rules Suarez out of Deportivo clash|
|Former Southampton managers hail ´excellent season´|
|Mourinho wants to remain in England after Chelsea|
|Rodgers ´150 per cent sure´ his job is safe|
|Maldini would ´love´ to help Milan|
|Doyle set for Rapids debut versus Whitecaps|
|MLS Review: Champions end winless run on day of late drama|
|Jemez doubted Rayo future|
|Zenga could replace Mihajlovic - Osti|
|Blanc wants to avoid Chelsea-like finish|
|Menez happy in Milan|
|Sherwood: Vlaar wants to stay|
|Arsenal v West Brom: Wenger calls for focus|
|Porto 2 Penafiel 0: Danilo scores in farewell game|
|La Liga Preview: Eibar, Almeria hoping for final-day salvation|
|Eredivisie play-offs: Go Ahead suffer surprise defeat, NAC win|
|South Africa warm up for COSAFA Cup with victory|
|Rodriguez will be like a new signing - Adkins|
|Renard leaves Ivory Coast role amid Lille speculation|
|Howedes doubtful for start of next Bundesliga campaign|
|Deschamps: Pogba and Evra will be happy to face Albania|
|Everton v Tottenham: Pochettino eyeing fifth spot|
|Crystal Palace v Swansea City: Pardew admits to talent envy|
|Van Gaal confident of keeping De Gea|
|Spurs to support Adebayor over family issues|
|Manchester City v Southampton: Koeman expects no favours from hosts|
|Chelsea v Sunderland: Champions set to finally lift trophy|
|Mancini: Inter need quality|
|Van Gaal: No favours for ex-United captain Bruce|
|Leicester City v QPR: Ramsey expects doomed Rangers to show pride|
|Koeman expecting quieter close season|
|Hughes delivers positive update on Bojan|
|Advocaat considering Sunderland offer|
|Hull City v Manchester United: Bruce accepts survival is tall order|
|Stoke City v Liverpool: Rodgers keen to move focus away from Sterling|
|Allardyce won´t let us down, says Bruce|
|Berahino can leave for top-four club - Pulis|
|Aston Villa v Burnley: Sherwood wanting win ahead of cup final|
|Big clubs would be making a ´mistake´ signing Bolasie|
|Peterborough announce Robertson as new manager|
|Relieved Sherwood eager to kick on|
|Newcastle United v West Ham: Carver dreading ´unbearable´ drop|
|Pellegrini unsure over Milner future|
|I am not good enough to win treble every year - Guardiola|
|Luis Enrique refuses to be drawn on Barca future|
|Ntep handed France call-up|
|Allegri compares Juve to class of 2003|
|My future to be decided on Monday - Allardyce|
|Ancelotti expects to stay at Real despite speculation|
|Play-off finals to go ahead despite discovery of World War II bomb|
|Mourinho lauds ´legend´ Lampard|
|Milan v Torino: Shadow of Ancelotti hangs over Inzaghi|
|Speroni extends Palace contract|
|Ramsey issues QPR warning|
|Valverde signs new Bilbao contract|
|Welbeck could miss FA Cup final and England double header|
|League One play-off final Preview: Preston hoping to end hoodoo|
|Rodgers expects Sterling talks to resume|
|Martinez dismisses Oviedo exit talk|
|Neil hoping to draw on previous play-off success|
|Cisse weighing up offers from USA, India and Poland|
|Hazard announced as Premier League´s Player of the Season|
|United should sign Cech if De Gea leaves - Scholes|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Cruzeiro draw first blood away from home|
|MLS Preview: Wondolowski poised for 100-goal club|
|Ligue 1 Preview: Monaco, Marseille, Saint-Etienne battle for Champions League spot|
|Bundesliga Preview: Relegation battle set for dramatic end, Dortmund to farewell Klopp|
|Serie A Preview: Radu in doubt for crucial Rome derby|
|Stankovic denies talk of Inter return|
|Benitez would be ´happy´ to manage Real - agent|
|Newcastle not expecting favours from Allardyce - Carver|
|Lacazette can be ´world class´ - Houllier|
|Hodgson defends Sterling|