Will Grigg sends a message to Portsmouth, Ipswich and Sunderland's promotion rivals
Will Grigg is confident the Sunderland squad can handle expectations and win promotion back to the Championship next season.
The Black Cats fell short last season, finishing in fifth after a disappointing end to the campaign before losing to Charlton Athletic in the last minute of the League One play-off final.
It was a heartbreaking end to a 61-game season, which included two trips to Wembley but ultimately ended with nothing to show for it.
The coaching staff and squad are due back at the Academy of Light early next month ahead of the new season getting underway in August.
Expectation levels will be even higher given last year’s failure but January signing Grigg, who scored just five goals after arriving from Wigan Athletic, is confident Sunderland will bounce back strongly.
The perception outside the region was that Sunderland should have walked the third tier given the size of the wage budget and calibre of players but that doesn’t tell the full picture given the upheaval and huge squad revamp carried out following back-to-back relegations.
That's now in the past and Grigg is confident Sunderland can handle expectations.
Grigg said: “We've been doing everything properly, making sure we're 100% and trying to improve and working on everything every day but I think maybe people do expect us just because of the size of the club and the history of the club.
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“It's one of those things that you just have to deal with as players and as a club. It's going to happen and it doesn't get any easier.
“It's difficult and it's tough to get promoted out of any division - no matter what level it is.
“You have to be on the top of your game for the whole season and it seems easy from an outset but I think we have enough in us and
hopefully we'll do the business.”
Jack Ross will look to strengthen his attacking options with Charlie Wyke, who also scored five goals, ending the season up front, with
Grigg struggling for form and fitness due to an ongoing ankle problem.