Although three teams currently enjoy a share of 17th place, Genoa have inferior goal difference to both Siena and Palermo and are without a win in six league outings.
November's Derby della Lanterna, however, proved to be the turning point for Samp's season as the Blucerchiati shrugged off a seven-game losing streak to triumph 3-1 at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris before enjoying a comfortable campaign.
Genoa president Enrico Preziosi has given Ballardini his backing until the end of term at least, with the former Lazio boss confident he can repay his employer's faith.
He told Tuttosport: "I've spoken with the president about the future and about the team. We have seven cup finals ahead of us, starting with the derby.
"We go into it on the back of some poor results but the lads are in good shape.
"When I started, in the first five games, we did really well but we've got little or nothing from the last few matches.
"This is the only road we have in front of us and we must move forward on it. Genoa have what it takes to get out of trouble."
The Grifone are missing Marco Rossi, Juraj Kucka, Damiano Ferronetti and Cesare Bovo through injury.
The latter dodges an unpleasant reception, therefore, having scored a calamitous own-goal between strikes from Andrea Poli and Mauro Icardi last time out.
Samp, meanwhile, are without midfielder Nenad Krsticic.
Winger Lorenzo De Silvestri is fired up by the prospect of completing a rare derby double on Sunday and relished the chance to train at the clubs' shared stadium this week.
The on-loan Fiorentina man said: "Even though it was empty, the Ferraris made me think about the atmosphere on Sunday afternoon.
"It will be a crucial game. I know how important it is to the city because I've never heard anyone talk about anything else since I got here.
"We are preparing well and we want to book our survival to give something back to the fans."
Samp, who entered the weekend in 14th place, have a nine-point cushion above the bottom three as their first season back in the top flight draws to a close.