PHIL PARKINSON has been charged with the task of winning promotion – and the new Sunderland boss is confident he has inherited a squad capable of making it to the Championship by May.

Parkinson was formally unveiled as the Black Cats’ new manager at the Academy of Light this afternoon, having signed a two-and-a-half year contract to take over on Wearside.

The former Bradford and Bolton boss has inherited a squad sitting in ninth position in the League One table, eight points adrift of leaders Ipswich Town, but is confident he can go one better than last season, when Sunderland suffered defeat in the play-off final at Wembley.

Parkinson said: “I think everybody knows the expectation at a club the stature of Sunderland is to get promoted. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t believe I could achieve that with the squad that is in place and the backing I’ll get from the board.

“It’s got to be the ambition. You’d be crazy if you spoke to a potential manager and they said they were happy to tick along nicely.

“They want someone who is ambitious, has achieved promotions before and knows what it takes to get over the finishing line. I’m going to be working very hard to hopefully achieve that.”

Parkinson has become Sunderland’s 12th permanent boss in the last 11 years, and as the club has slid to the lowest position in its history, so its managerial position has become something of a poisoned chalice.

Nevertheless, the allure of becoming the person who turns the club around and restores it to something approaching its former glories endures, and Parkinson cannot wait to tackle what he regards to be the biggest job of his career.

He said: “It’s a great opportunity to get this club going again. The attraction is clear for everybody with the size of the club’s fan base and the quality of the players, and in a few years’ time, I want to look back and say I was the manager that got this club off and running  again.

“That process has started. We were unlucky last year not to get over the line. My job now is to get an extra ten per cent from individuals and the team to bridge the gap from the play-offs to hopefully finishing in the top two this year.”

To that end, Parkinson wants to build on the foundations that were put in place by Jack Ross, with a particular emphasis on making his Sunderland side more resilient and harder to beat.

He said: “I think there’s talent in the squad, I think all the Sunderland supporters can see that. We’ve got to address the balance in the team and make sure we’re good with the ball and without the ball.

“The teams that achieve success are sides that do that. We’ve got a lot of talent and good attacking players, so we’ve got to make sure we have the belief that when we’re attacking, we don’t leave ourselves vulnerable, which I think has happened at times.

“You’ve got to have a solid base at any level in English football, clean sheets at the end of the season are crucial. We all want to attack and excite the supporters, but you’ve got to make sure you’re not vulnerable when you lose possession.”