Sunderland were cruelly denied a place in the Championship last season. A last-gasp Charlton goal in the League One Play-Off Final ensured another campaign in League One for the Black Cats.
Boss Jack Ross must now try and assemble a squad capable of going up via automatic promotion.
In truth, that shouldn’t be too difficult. The bulk of the squad has remained and it will simply be a case of freshening up in key areas.
Goalkeeper Lee Burge and defenders Conor McLaughlin and Jordan Willis have been added to the squad so far.
The arrivals of Burge and Willis are particularly interesting. Both have been added from Coventry, who are seen by some people as potential rivals for promotion with Sunderland next season.
The Sky Blues has so often proved a hotbed of talent in recent years and the Black Cats should further reduce their chances of promotion next season by persuing Conor Chaplin.
Last season was a difficult one for the youngster.
He netted eight goals and registered three assists from his 33 appearances.
Ross could be just the manager to unearth the potential in Chaplin, however.
The Coventry Telegraph recently reported that Barnsley had a bid of £700,000 rejected for his services. Provided his valuation isn’t too much higher than that, Sunderland should take the plunge.
He can operate as a striker, or as a number ten and some more creativity in the final third wouldn’t go amiss for the Black Cats.
Last season he netted for the Sky Blues during a 5-4 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, showcasing his big game qualities.
At 22, Chaplin has several years left ahead of him and although he would represent a risk for Sunderland, he is definitely one worth taking.
If the attacker can regain his confidence, Sunderland would have a quality player on their hands.