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|
|Neymar makes Barcelona case to Gabriel Jesus|
|Rostov comeback twice for Champions League draw with Anderlecht.|
|Arsenal defender Mertesacker set for lengthy lay-off|
|Conte not selling ´fantastic´ Matic|
|Ibrahimovic keen on MLS and Beckham´s Miami project|
|Neymar: I play for Messi, he´s the man|
|Barcelona reveal details of Andre Gomes deal|
|Suarez bullish over Barcelona prospects|
|Ajax claim Napoli keen on Milik to replace Higuain|
|Totti labels Higuain´s Juventus move ´a disaster´|
|Juventus confirm Higuain deal|
|Pato to Villarreal ´in the final stage´|
|PSG sign Lo Celso|
|Muller: Beating Dortmund will be more fun this season|
|Juventus sign Higuain from Napoli for €90m|
|Pastore: I´m like God in Paris|
|Injured Lanzini out of Olympics|
|Allegri unperturbed by Higuain fee|
|Menezes replaces Bento at Cruzeiro|
|Sporting rejected major bids from Inter and Liverpool for Joao Mario, claims father|
|Pochettino pleased by Tottenham despite Juventus defeat|
|Eriksson: Allardyce the right man for England|
|Mourinho makes United train after stepping off plane from China|
|Hazard can still match Messi, says Pedro|
|Pjanic shows there is life at Juve, with or without Pogba|
|Juventus 2 Tottenham 1: Benatia bags win for Serie A champions|
|Dembele: I am not the Bundesliga´s next superstar|
|Lyon claim €35m Arsenal offer for Lacazette rejected|
|Donnarumma dreaming of Milan captaincy as he eyes long-term stay|
|Robson: Ibrahimovic can match Van Persie´s first year at United|
|Rooney should remain England captain - Eriksson|
|Emery wants new striker at PSG|
|Santos accept Juventus bid for Gabriel|
|Eriksson expects Sweden to try and tempt Ibrahimovic out of retirement|
|Spurs signing Janssen almost quit|
|Leicester stay best for Mahrez - Ranieri|
|Allardyce to take Mourinho cue on Rooney|
|Ings ready to outdo big-money signings|
|Henderson optimistic over Liverpool campaign|
|Allardyce hardened to the challenge of England post|
|Barcelona announce record revenues for 2015-16|
|Moyes enjoys Sunderland win as Palace beat Colchester|
|Stoke complete Allen signing|
|Roma coach Spalletti warns suitors off Manolas|
|Cresswell out for up to four months with knee injury|
|Burnley fan banned by club for racist abuse|
|Dad won´t let me play at the Olympics - Larsson Sr pulls rank|
|Kostic joins Hamburg on five-year deal|
|Tevez: I´d turn down Chelsea and Napoli to stay at Boca|
|Mayoral inspired by Benzema for Wolfsburg stint|
|Allardyce straight into competitive action with England|
|Liverpool, Sevilla fined for Europa League final incidents|
|Barcelona seal Guillemenot signing as part of new Servette deal|
|Niersbach handed one-year ban over World Cup corruption|
|Chelsea and Everton ´still interested´ as Koulibaly eyes Napoli exit|
|´Still working hard´ - Balotelli trains with Liverpool kids|
|Winter breaks, long-ball football and the World Cup: Allardyce in his own words|
|Inter warn Napoli Icardi is not for sale|
|Zanetti wants Simeone back at Inter|
|Stoke snap up Sobhi|
|PSG tougher under Emery - Lucas Moura|
|Totti not ready for retirement - Pallotta|
|Confident Allardyce reveals plan for England success|
|Pochettino to discard three Tottenham players|
|Allardyce: Rooney must wait for captaincy decision|
|Aubameyang: I will only leave Dortmund for Real Madrid|
|Allegri silences questions on Pogba|
|Bruce stands by decision to quit Hull City|
|Pochettino: Not the right time for Argentina job|
|Inter yet to approach De Boer with Mancini exit rumoured|
|Ancelotti trusts me more than Guardiola - Ribery|
|Wijnaldum rejected Everton for Klopp|
|Pre-season Manchester derby cancelled|
|Coutinho excited by ´fast´ Liverpool recruits|
|Cristiano Ronaldo and Conor McGregor step into the ring together|
|Mancini coy on reports linking Icardi to Napoli|
|Nolito reveals why he chose Man City over Barcelona|
|Inter 1 Paris Saint-Germain 3: Icardi absence in defeat fuels Napoli talk|