Lee Cattermole says the current Sunderland squad have enough talent to leave relegation struggles aside and aim for the Premier League top ten.
The 27-year-old, who has spent six years at the Stadium of Light, is the club's current longest serving player and was part of the Black Cats team that finished 10th in the table, under Steve Bruce, in 2011.
However, the last three seasons have seen the team fighting to avoid the drop down to the Championship, saving themselves with a game to spare on all three occasions.
Now, with Dick Advocaat having committed to the club after saving them from relegation last season, Cattermole feels the current squad can aim higher than another season fighting the drop.
He said: "In terms of the team, I think this is the best group of players now that I've ever been a part of here.
I think this is the best group of players now that I've ever been a part of here.Lee Cattermole
"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 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."
In order to move the side higher up the Premier League table Advocaat has made some big new signings with Jermain Lens, Sebastian Coates, Younes Kaboul and Adam Matthews all moving to the Stadium of Light in the summer.
Sunderland, who are 1/1 to finish in the top half, get the new season underway with a trip to Leicester City on Saturday. They are 1/1 to win, the Foxes are 1/1 and a draw is priced at 1/1.
Don't forget all Premier League matches are covered by the bet365 Euro Soccer Bonus, where you could earn a bonus of up to 100% on your returns on pre-match accumulator bets. T & Cs apply.
View all Soccer betting