Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson has set his sights on a top 10 finish this season and a place in Fabio Capello's England squad.Richardson says Steve Bruce's arrival has transformed a club who escaped the drop on the final day of last season.
"The players and the staff the manager has brought in should help propel Sunderland into the top half. That's definitely our aim," he told BBC Sport.
Bruce has spent nearly £25m on new players since taking over as boss.
The new Black Cats boss opted to leave Wigan, whom he led to 11th in the Premier League last season, to take over a club who have battled the drop for the past two years.
Fraizer Campbell, Lorik Cana, Paulo da Silva, Darren Bent and Lee Cattermole have all arrived in an ambitious summer spending spree that has been backed by Sunderland's American owner Ellis Short.
Bruce's arrival has also brought back the feel-good factor to the Stadium of Light, after the slump in their fortunes following Roy Keane's exit in December.
They visit Bolton on Saturday for the opening day of the Premier League season in good spirits.
"It is good times at the moment and hopefully we can kick on this season," added the 24-year-old Richardson. "It's been a hard pre-season - the new manager has come in and he's been great so far.
"The good thing about him is the attitude he has towards the players and the relationship with the players - all he wants is for us to work hard and if we give him that he doesn't complain.
"I'm sure he will get the best out of us. He seems like a top manager."
Richardson is hoping Bruce's impact could help him return to the international fold.
Having scored twice on his England debut as a 20-year-old, he has not featured since winning his eighth cap in November 2006 in a 1-1 draw against the Netherlands.
"My main priority is to get Sunderland established, do well for the club and international call-ups might follow," he said.
"Last season I was close to being called up - hopefully I will play better this season and that call will come."