Sunderland midfielder Lynden Gooch believes that Sunderland’s fourth season in England’s third-tier should be their final one.
The 25-year-old has been part of Sunderland squads in the Premier League and the Championship, but he remains hopeful that this is the last League One squad he is a part of with The Wearsiders.
Gooch, who has made just shy of 150 appearances for the club since 2015, made his Sunderland debut during a 2-1 defeat away at Manchester City and has remained in and around the first-team set-up ever since.
Sunderland have come agonisingly close to a second-tier return over the past three seasons, but two play-off defeats later, and The Black Cats are now embarking on a crucial fourth campaign in League One.
Gooch, who has classed the past three seasons as failures, is hopeful that his side can finally return to the Championship, and told the Northern Echo: “I think we need to take it one step at a time and get fit, but the ambition is obviously to get promoted.
“We’ve failed three years now, so we need to make sure we do it this year.”
Fans have a right to be concerned that Sunderland could just mould into the division. However, hope never seems to die down in Wearside and it is expected that they will be there or thereabouts when next season comes to a conclusion.
Gooch understands the expectation that comes with putting on a Sunderland shirt and he will also understand the frustrations that fans have. However, it is now about the whole club coming together and making strides in a League One competition that looks like it will be increasingly competitive.
The Black Cats have a new owner and it is Lee Johnson’s first full season in charge – this fresh approach could make all the difference.
Sunderland have barely scratched the surface when it comes to this transfer window and a few areas will need to be targeted before the season commences in just under four weeks.