Carl Winchester reveals his Sunderland ambitions and why he's desperate to help his new club achieve promotion from League One
Carl Winchester says he’s determined to play a part in Sunderland’s promotion push – as he feels this is his last chance to make it to the Championship.
The midfielder, who completed his first 90 minutes for the Black Cats in their win over Swindon Town, has spent all of his career playing in the third and fourth tiers of the English game.
And it was a desire to climb the leagues that fuelled his switch from Forest Green to the Stadium of Light in the winter transfer window – and Winchester is now keen to do his all in order to seize what he feels is his last chance of Championship football.
"It's one of those things, I want to get as high as possible,” he admitted.
“I did well at Forest Green and it was a great wee club but every player wants to kick on and try to do better.
“It's everything I want to do. I want to play as high as possible and once this club comes knocking on your door it's hard to turn down. I'm absolutely buzzing to be here and I'll do everything I can to help push the team on.
“I just try to work hard on the training pitch and then once I get the chance hopefully I can do well. I'm just going to work hard, because I think this is my last chance to get in the Championship - and I'm going to give it my all.”
The Northern Irish international has had to wait for his chance on Wearside, but a spate of injuries which have impacted the backline and midfield means he now looks set for a run in the side.
But he has no qualms about having to wait for his opportunity, having known he was coming into a competitive squad.
“I wouldn't say frustrating, because I knew what I was coming into,” said Winchester.
“The squad has a lot of talented players in the squad so I knew I wasn't going to come in and play every minute straight away. I knew I had to work for my place.
“It's my first ninety minutes since I've been here, so I'm just happy to get that and contribute to help the lads."
When it comes to forcing his way into the side, Winchester does have the added advantage of being well-known to head coach Lee Johnson – with the duo having worked together at Oldham Athletic.
Johnson proved a key driving force behind a January move that the midfielder admits came out of nowhere – and with him now settled on Wearside, the focus is on stringing together a run to take the Black Cats into the top two.
“Everything is just amazing here. The facilities, the stadium, it's incredible. it's still a Premier League club and I'm just honoured to be here.
“There's a lot of big characters and it's full of talent, especially for this league. When I walked in the door I felt that, and I'm glad to be part of that.
“With the talent we have we can go on a run. But we just have to take it one game at a time really.”