Debutant Adam Matthews believes Sunderland can end the cycle of relegation battles after the influx of signings planned by Dick Advocaat this summer.
New boy Matthews made his Sunderland bow in last night’s opening pre-season friendly against Darlington, as the Black Cats recovered from going two goals down to triumph 4-2 against the non league outfit.
I spoke to the manager and he said he is going to try and bring a few more players inAdam Matthews
Matthews remains one of only two new signings by Sunderland so far this summer, but Advocaat is targeting a further three or four who will immediately improve the calibre of the starting XI.
Sunderland are haggling with Zenit St Petersburg and Dynamo Kiev over the asking prices for Nicolas Lombaerts and Jeremain Lens respectively, while they retain an interest in West Ham’s Stewart Downing.
Downing’s former club Middlesbrough remain favourites to sign the 30-year-old, but they will need to make a bid in excess of £5million for West Ham to sanction his departure.
Sunderland have also been considering a loan move for Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel - last night linked with Stoke City as part of a deal for Asmir Begovic - although it is understood that the Black Cats are now looking for more attack-minded players in the middle of the park.
But after hearing Advocaat’s plans to overhaul the side this summer prior to his own signing, Matthews is confident there will be the strength in Sunderland’s ranks to avoid a fourth successive fight for survival.
“I spoke to the manager and he said he is going to try and bring a few more players in,” he said.
“I think we should be finishing higher than we did last season.
“I’m sure if we start the season as well as we want to, we will finish higher.”
Matthews admits his own move hasn’t completely sunk in yet after Sunderland agreed a £2million deal for the Welsh international within 48 hours of approaching Celtic.
The full-back had not been orchestrating for a move away from the SPL, but admits the chance to move to the Premier League was too good to turn down.
“It happened quite quickly to be honest,” he said.
“My agent said Sunderland were interested on the Wednesday, I went into training on Thursday and heard nothing, and then on Friday he texted me to say Celtic had accepted a bid.
“It hasn’t really had time to sink in yet, but I am enjoying it.
“I turned up to train with Celtic thinking I would be there for the season, but obviously when Sunderland came in I spoke to my agent and it seemed like a good fit.
“When you’re young, the Premier League is the league you want to play in so hopefully I can get an opportunity to do that with Sunderland.”
Matthews was brought to the Stadium of Light with the remit of being an attack-minded full-back, yet there was only sporadic signs of that at Heritage Park last night as Sunderland knocked off the rust from the summer.
The 23-year-old expects Advocaat to go into more detail over his plans for him, while Sunderland are in North America, with the Black Cats squad heading across the Atlantic this weekend.
“We haven’t really worked on tactics this week, it’s more about getting everybody’s fitness up and it’s been a lot of running,” he added.
“Later I think he’ll go for the tactical and tell us what he wants us to do.
“This is only the first game and I think you could see by the way we started we weren’t match sharp.
“But as the game went on I think we grew more confident and we scored some good goals in the end.”