Sunderland club captain Lee Cattermole has led his team out for their first day of pre-season training on Wednesday and says that he believes that this year the club can beat last season's 13th-place finish.
The Black Cats fired manager Steve Bruce halfway through last season, and Cattermole has backed his successor Martin O'Neill to bring in more players and stamp his authority on the club this season.
The 24-year-old midfielder says that he has shaken off a series of niggling injuries that bothered him last season, and is looking forward to seeing new signing Carlos Cuellar in action.
"The break was good, even if it was longer than I would have liked," Cattermole told the Sunderland Echo.
"It even got to a point where I was looking forward to getting back into it!
"But this time of year is always exciting and a good time. This season is Martin's main season and he's had time to prepare. I'm sure he will bring some more players in.
"He will really stamp his authority on the side and that's why it's a really exciting year. Hopefully it will go well - I'm sure it will."
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