Jack Colback expects to end January a Sunderland player, despite the stalled contract talks which have put his future in the spotlight.
The Black Cats are understood to be keen to keep their homegrown midfielder, but their relegation battle has clouded the future of several of the stars who will be out of contract at the end of the campaign.
Colback is one of those players and, although Poyet would like to tie him down to a long-term deal, there have also been offers for Brighton pair Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley – two more midfielders who add to a squad that has numbers but not the kind of quality Poyet wants.
All of that has added to the speculation surrounding Colback, but he insists that he will remain at the Stadium of Light past the January transfer window – and says the almost certain rise in rumours linking players with the club should not affect the squad ahead of an important month.
“I expect to be here at the end of January,” he said.
“The transfer window has nothing to do with us as players. It’s the people above who sort that out and we just have to get on with it.”
As Sunderland look to try to deal their way out of the relegation battle, there is the more pressing concern of why the club are capable of taking points off the division’s best yet struggle terribly when they are taking on fellow strugglers.
It is a major concern for Poyet, who has seen his team waste the advantage that they collected by beating Everton with another wasteful home match against a lower-half side. Colback admits the pressure might be a factor when it comes to playing at the Stadium of Light.
He said: “I’m not sure why we can beat those teams at the top but not those around us. We’ve beaten Newcastle, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea but fallen short in the games we should have won.
“Maybe it’s the added pressure of being expected to win at home and the crowd get frustrated when we’re not doing that, performing and winning the games.
“We’ve got to be able to deal with that and we’ve got to be able to do that soon.”
The Villa game was particularly tough for Sunderland to take after creating enough openings to get something out of the game, only to lack the conviction in the final third to reward their enterprise.
Colback confessed: “We created a lot of chances. If we had scored it would completely change the game. Getting it back to 1-1 would have got the momentum behind us but we couldn’t do that and it’s difficult at the moment. We have got belief but it is frustrating.
“We’ve improved a lot but playing well and getting beaten isn’t good enough in the situation we’re in. We need to pick up points as soon as we can.
“We’re absolutely convinced we can do it. Teams get written off too quickly at both ends of the table. We’ve got full belief in ourselves. It can change week-by-week.
“We’re capable of bridging that four-point gap.”
That gap will remain for the next 10 days, with Sunderland set to take to the Cup trail before their trip to Fulham.
He said: “We had a chance to maybe get out of the bottom three if we’d have won and we’ve been slowly chipping away.
“Every time we seem to do something good we seem to follow it up with something disappointing. We’ve got no choice but to go on and try to pick up something in the next game.”
Meanwhile, Colback says that Lee Cattermole – whose mistake led to Sunderland conceding their goal on Wednesday – should not shoulder the burden of responsibility for the defeat.
He said: “These things happen. Everyone is responsible for playing well and playing badly. It’s football and everyone makes mistakes. There was nothing said in the dressing room.”