Adam Matthews has warned Sunderland the Championship is an unforgiving beast for any teams not fully prepared for the challenge.
Sunderland kick-off their Championship campaign against Derby County at the Stadium of Light in 10 days time.
And Matthews insists a good squad is vital to cope with the sheer number of games, with Sunderland facing eight more league games in the second tier compared to the Premier League.
Matthews, who made 14 appearances for Championship side Bristol City on loan last season, said: “The sheer volume of games, you’ve got to have a good squad and use all of it.
“If we’re not prepared it could come back and bite us, we can’t let that happen.
“It is hard to predict, everyone can beat everyone.
“You saw with Aston Villa last year, everyone thought they’d have a good chance of coming back up but they struggled a bit, so hopefully that won’t happen.
“You need a good squad and a good start.”
The full-back has struggled for games since joining two years ago, but new manager Simon Grayson has used him regularly in pre-season. The 25-year-old is yet to discuss his future but would like to fight for his place.
Sunderland have several options in the full-back area, with Bryan Oviedo still to return from injury. Grayson signed Brendan Galloway from Everton on loan, youngster Tommy Robson is waiting in the wings while Sunderland are also well stocked at right-back with Donald Love and Billy Jones among the options.