Stern John believes consistency will be the key for Sunderland in the promotion run-in.
The Black Cats went into today's game against Hull unbeaten in 12 games dating back to the turn of the year.
Sunderland have taken 30 points from a possible 36 in 2007, and they remain firmly in the hunt for a top-two finish.
Trinidad and Tobago striker John said: "We now have a chance to get promoted automatically this season, but if we are going to do that, we have to show the same sort of consistency as we've displayed over the time I have been here.
"I've been promoted from this division before - with Birmingham City - and what I know is that to finish in the top two you have to go on long, good runs where you don't lose matches.
"You have to put in displays where you turn draws into wins and you turn possible defeats into draws."
Sunderland scored a last-minute equaliser to secure a point against Stoke at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, and John says those kind of salvage jobs are essential for a side gunning for promotion.
He said: "The main thing is to stay unbeaten because that builds confidence and it means that, even when you aren't at your best, you keep the points total ticking over.
"In this division this season there doesn't seem to have been much consistency among the sides.
"Results like Hull City at the bottom, beating Birmingham City at the top, have been quite common.
"And that is why no one has run away with the league yet - it's why so many teams are bunched up at the top of the table.
"The team that wins the league this season and the team that gets promoted alongside them will be the teams that show the sort of consistency that we have over the last few months.
"But we all know that there is a long way to go yet and a lot of hard work involved to really make a breakthrough at the top of the table.
"What these last few games have shown us is that we have the squad and the attitude to compete with the very top sides.
"We are the in-form side and I don't think anyone fancies playing us at the moment."