Lynden Gooch's clear verdict on Sunderland's promotion aims and the early business done by Ipswich, Wigan and rivals
Lynden Gooch says that Sunderland need to ‘make sure’ they escape from League One at the fourth time of asking.
And the American insists the Black Cats won’t pay too much attention to the eye-catching early transfer business done by some of their promotion rivals.
While Sunderland’s start to the summer window has bene somewhat slow, the likes of Ipswich Town and Wigan Athletic have already added a host of new signings to their ranks.
Gooch says Sunderland are playing little attention to that at present though, and are instead focused on their own promotion ambitions.
“I think we need to take it one step at a time and get fit, but the ambition is obviously to get promoted,” he said.
"We've failed three years now, so we need to make sure we do it this year.
“Some teams have done business, some teams haven't,” he continued.
"You can't read too much into it. It is what it is and we've just got to make sure that we're fit and ready to go for the first week.”
Sunderland’s squad are set to step-up their pre-season preparations at the Academy of Light this week, with Lee Johnson continuing to mould his squad to his tactical style.
It’s the first pre-season that the head coach has enjoyed on Wearside, and Gooch says it has been an enjoyable start thus far.“It's been good,” he said.
"The lads came back really fit so that's half the battle.
"I always keep myself fit so I don't get too anxious. I know there's a few boys who get anxious before the sessions start. But it is what it is, you have to get fit.
"There's been a lot of football really,” he continued.
"All of us worked under him last season and it's been good. We've been doing fitness work in the afternoons and we just need to get fit.”
And what has the early mood been like in the camp after coming so close to promotion last season?
“It's been fine.
"We don't feel like we've had that much time off to be honest! It's about four weeks we've been off. Everyone is doing well, and everyone has come back really fit.”