Sunderland skipper Lee Cattermole is backing manager Martin O'Neill to stamp his mark on the club in his first full season in charge.
The Ulsterman and his players returned to work on Wednesday with O'Neill having completed the first part of his mission during the second half of last season by easing the Black Cats clear of relegation battle. He will now seek to fulfil owner and chairman Ellis Short's ambition to establish the club as regulars in the top half of the Barclays Premier League.
Cattermole told the Northern Echo: "This season is Martin's main season. He has had time to prepare for the summer, I'm sure he will bring some more players in. He will really want to stamp his authority on the side and it's a really exciting year. Hopefully it will go well - I'm sure it will."
O'Neill is currently in the process of re-shaping his squad, although former Aston Villa defender Carlos Cuellar was the only new face among those who reported to the Academy of Light.
He has been linked with a series of potential targets, among them Blackburn duo Junior Hoilett and Steve Nzonzi, as well as Wolves striker Steven Fletcher and Spartak Moscow winger Aiden McGeady, but is having to remain patient as he attempts to secure the men he wants to take the club forward.
But he is delighted with his capture of 30-year-old Cuellar, and Cattermole too is hoping there will be more to come.
He said: "Carlos has been a great player over the years in the Premier League. It will be good to have him on board. It shows what Martin thinks of him to sign him again.
"It's a great time of the year, when you get new faces and there's a fresh approach to everything. Everyone is fresh. We are all just looking forward to the new season."