Sunderland strengthened their position in the League One promotion race as Josh Maja's first-half finish secured a 1-0 win at Blackpool.
Jack Ross' side were roared on by 7,804 travelling fans at Bloomfield Road and the visiting army had plenty to shout about when Maja broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
The forward's future remains shrouded in doubt given his refusal to sign a new deal on Wearside, but his importance to the Sunderland cause was emphasised as he stole ahead of his marker to flick home Aiden McGeady's cross and claim his 14th league goal of the season.
Blackpool rallied gamely to try to claim an equaliser and Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was forced to produce an excellent first-half save as he kept out Chris Taylor's back-post effort with his feet.
The hosts went even closer three minutes after the break, with Armand Gnanduillet poking the ball past McLaughlin only for a back-tracking Jack Baldwin to hack clear from the goal-line via a rebound off his own post.
The result is Sunderland's first win on New Year's Day since beating Manchester City 1-0 in January 2012.