Lee Cattermole: Sunderland should be competing with these three clubs

The Sunderland star believes Swansea, Stoke and Southampton are the teams to be competing with.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Black Cats midfielder Lee Cattermole admitted that competing for the top 10 places should be the aim for this season, emulating the likes of Stoke, Swansea and Southampton.

The club’s longest-serving player said: “We need to look to push on and get back to the kind of heights that the club enjoyed in the Peter Reid era. They finished seventh or eighth back then, and if you can finish in or around there, then that’s progress, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be competing with where Swansea, Stoke and Southampton are.

“You look at clubs like that, and that has to be the target for us. Throw in a decent cup run, and that’s where the club has to look to be.”

Whilst finishing mid-table with a decent cup run is still not a successful season, considering the poor campaigns Sunderland have suffered recently, it would be a progression forwards.

The Black Cats are now seemingly stuck in an endless battle against relegation, with a manager change every season being enough to pull them out of the mire in the final weeks of the campaign.

Summer reinforcements bring little promise, and it is clear that issues are clouding the club far away from the pitch.

However, this summer has been different.

Dick Advocaat returned after his original decision to leave, being backed by the club’s board to move them forwards. He has signed players who fix clear issues in the team - a host of defenders, and a left winger - and is still actively moving to bring in a striker.

The team is starting to take shape under the Dutch boss, and after his impressive spell at the end of last season, the atmosphere is starting to feel positive at the Stadium of Light.

Whilst a surprising aim given their recent struggles, if the Wearside club can start to compete with the likes of Stoke and Southampton, it will certainly be a progression, and a top half finish may not be too far off.

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