After failing to guide Sunderland to promotion last season, the pressure is now on manager Lee Johnson to deliver the goods during the upcoming campaign.
Although the Black Cats' performances have improved under the guidance of the 40-year-old, their progress was halted earlier this year by a lack of consistency in League One.
Now set for another season in the third-tier, it is imperative that Sunderland learn from their mistakes if they are to mount a serious push for automatic promotion.
The scale of the Black Cats' success may also depend on whether Johnson is able to nail his transfer recruitment between now and the end of August.
Whilst the Sunderland boss has already secured the services of Alex Pritchard, Jacob Carney, Corry Evans and Callum Doyle this summer, it wouldn't be at all surprising if he decides to make some more alterations to his squad before his side's clash with Wigan Athletic on August 7th.
One of the players who is on Johnson's radar is Jordan Jones who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at the Stadium of Light earlier this year.
However, Sunderland could be facing a battle to seal a deal for the winger if recent reports are anything to go by.
According to Football Insider, Wigan are looking to beat the Black Cats to Jones' signature and have now made an approach to Rangers.
It is understood that the 26-year-old is keen to seal a switch to an English side with the Gers reportedly open to the possibility of selling him.
Sunderland are struggling to meet Rangers' asking price which is believed to just shy of £1m and thus could potentially miss out on a move to one of their League One rivals.
GIVEMESPORT's Joshua Cole says...
If the Black Cats are unable to finance a swoop for Jones, this would unquestionably be a blow as the winger delivered a number of promising performances for the club last season.
Jones also ranked in the top-five at the Stadium of Light for shots per game (1.6), key passes per match (1.9) and successful dribbles per game (1).
Providing that the winger is indeed a key target for Sunderland, Johnson ought to try and convince owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to splash the cash as Jones could end up playing a major role in helping the club seal a return to the second-tier next year.
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