Sunderland had a strong season last year especially once Alex Neil came in as manager.
The side returned to pre-season training last week and will be looking to have another good season again next year to ensure they are able to stay in the Championship.
The club have had some positive reinforcements in recent days with Lynden Gooch, Patrick Roberts and Anthony Patterson all signing new contracts with the club.
However, despite his side currently looking to be in a positive place, Alex Neil is keen to warn his players that the hard work has only just begun as he told the club’s Official Media: “That’s one thing [underestimating the league] that I’m really trying to guard against with everybody in the building.
“The Championship is a league that’s obviously been by bread and butter for a number of years, the difficulty you have is that, unlike League One or at least from the sample I had from it, you can play top of the league and then bottom, and the games are equally difficult.
“There are no easy games, no easy points.
“You need to fight tooth and nail for every point. Providing we understand that, providing we go and try and do the best we possibly can in the recruitment window, and obviously add as much quality and depth as we can, we’ll give ourselves the best chance of being successful.
“All these key elements have been discussed on a regular basis, a daily basis really, and we just want to make sure we do that as well as we can.”
Quiz: Can you name which club Sunderland sold these 23 players to from the last decade?
Sunderland are lucky to have a manager that already has Championship experience taking them forward as it will allow them to prepare in a sufficient way for the league above.
Of course the Black Cats have been in the league before and know what to expect but after a while away, they will need to make sure they don’t go into the season letting their history dictate how they play as opposed to what the league requires of them.
There will no doubt be a number of sides next year who are starting the year with the target of a top six finish in mind meaning there will be plenty of competition and Sunderland will have to make sure they’re on the top of their game every week.