Jack Ross has not been told he must secure promotion from League One next season, but insists he is aiming for exactly that.
Stewart Donald has been measured about his own expectations for the coming campaign but as he outlined his vision for the Black Cats, Ross made clear that he would be ambitious every step of the way.
He said: “The owners haven’t said that but for me, yes. I’ve never really had an issue with that, if you go through any old interviews of mine, I’ve always been very clear about having ambitions and goals.
“The problem is that when you do that, you’re sometimes perceived as being arrogant when you don’t reach them, people take great delight in telling you that you’ve failed.
“You’ve got to have clear objectives and ambitions and goals, for me it’s to win promotion.
“It’s going to be a challenge and a lot of work to be done in a short time. It’s going to be a tough league but it’s got to be like that and not just for me, but for everyone involved in the football side. They’ve got to have that drive as well.”
Sunderland has developed a reputation for being the undoing of high-profile managers and Ross represents something of a changing of the guard.
He insists, however, that he is not daunted by the scale of failure in recent years and that the takeover, led by Donald, has changed the landscape.
He said: “It’s genuinely something I don’t look at. I’d struggle top name them all in chronological order. I’m aware of some of the high profile names that have done the job.
“In contrast to playing, management feels like the right fit for me. It’s my job, I know that sounds a bit emotionless but I view it very much as my profession and the only thing I can effect is what happens in the future.
“I can never affect what’s happened. If I looked at what’s gone before, I’d think, wow, there’s been some big managers who have been here before and haven’t managed to get it to work. I’m only interested in what lies ahead. All I can affect is my style and methods on the group from the first day of pre-season.
“I think the new ownership was the key point,” he added.
“There was a bit of synergy with the job I left, it’s similar circumstances. When you have that, I wouldn’t say there’s an element of freedom, but I think you have an opportunity to really put your own stamp on what you can control. For me that’s the football department and I believe I should have complete influence over that.
“That makes it opportune for me and I’d prefer it if the club wasn’t in League One. Equally I also have that clear belief that this club can be part of an upward journey, having been on both sides of that, as a player and a manager. It’s a lot better when you’re going up than when you’re going in the opposite direction.”
Ross was also attracting interest from Championship side Ipswich Town but said Donald and executive director Charlie Methven’s determination to land him proved to be crucial.
He said: “I don’t think it was a case of that [rejecting Ipswich], it was probably not ideal for me that it became public knowledge that Ipswich had approached St Mirren and asked for permission to speak to me.
“I spoke to Marcus (Evans) and really enjoyed the discussions I had with him but during that period this opportunity presented itself. The one thing Stewart and Charlie were was relentless in their belief that I was a good fit for them.
“They were really keen for me to buy into what they wanted to do. That was part of the appeal, plus the appeal of this club as a whole and the position it now finds itself in.
“There were probably opportunities before the summer where I could have left St Mirren but I never really felt as if they were the right ones for me. This certainly does and I’m excited by it.”