Midfielder Grant Leadbitter claims the arrival of Roy Keane at Sunderland has helped to improve his game and the whole atmosphere surrounding the club.
Leadbitter grabbed the only goal of the game for the Black Cats in Saturday's home win against struggling Sheffield Wednesday.
The result lifted the club to 14th in the table, only three points off a play-off place and five behind Birmingham City in the second automatic promotion position.
However Leadbitter, who has been a life-long supporter of Sunderland, claims Keane's presence has helped bring the crowds back to the stadium and he can see similarities with the feel-good factor under Peter Reid at the start of the decade.
He told the club's official website: "The good times are coming back. I used to come in the Reidy era when the place was full.
"It was a fantastic place to watch football and the atmosphere feels the same now."
He added: "Speaking as a Sunderland fan I'd say the manager has given our club a massive lift. He was a hero of mine when I was a kid and he was one of the best in the world.
"I want to go out and impress him at every opportunity. He's only been here for a month and already I feel I've learned so much. But if you can't learn from someone like Roy Keane then you shouldn't be in football."