Anton Ferdinand has praised the appointment of Steve Bruce as Sunderland manager and set his sights on improving from last season.
Bruce has earned rave reviews for his work with Wigan over the past 18 months and will be looking to take the Black Cats to a higher level following a relegation scrap in 2008/9.
Ferdinand fully expects Bruce to make an impact and is relishing the prospect of playing under his new boss.
"It is a great appointment by the chairman, he has done well everywhere he has gone and I am really looking forward to working with him," Ferdinand told Sky Sports News.
"There is no reason why he can't come to Sunderland and make the club much bigger than it is."
Speculation has suggested that Richard Dunne could join Sunderland from Manchester City and Ferdinand hopes he does arrive.
Ferdinand regards the Irishman as one of the best in the business and feels he would strengthen the team, although he realises that such an acquisition would create fierce competition for places.
Speaking about the rumours, Ferdinand said: "That would bring another good defender to the club but who is to say I would be playing alongside him.
"I have got to work hard to try and get that shirt. If he does come to the club I would welcome whim with open arms.
"Outside of the top four, he is one of the best defenders in the country. If I could play with him, it would be an honour."
Ferdinand accepts that his own form was steady rather than spectacular last term and he is keen to progress over the next 12 months.
"It was an OK season but I always want to improve and I've got the chance to do that next season," he explained.
"I didn't go there to fight a relegation battle, but we showed great character to come out of that."
Finally, Ferdinand also took the opportunity to send out a message about the danger of riptides after a friend of his died recently in Thailand.
He said: "The sea is rough out there and there are things called riptides that people don't know about, which are undercurrents that drag you out to sea.
"There are no signs warning you about riptides and we need to know about that because there is nothing worse than losing loved ones."