MAX POWER is relishing playing in a more attacking position this season – and is confident his goalscoring record will improve markedly as a result.

For the vast majority of his time as a Sunderland player, Power has been asked to sit deep in a defensive-midfield role even though he made a name for himself at Wigan Athletic in a much more prominent position.

Phil Parkinson has tweaked things over the summer, pushing Power further forward and asking either George Dobson or Josh Scowen to sit behind the Sunderland skipper, enabling him to play higher up the pitch.

Power opened his account for the season in the EFL Trophy thrashing of Aston Villa Under-21s, and was unfortunate not to add to his tally in last weekend’s draw with Bristol Rovers, hitting the crossbar and having another effort cleared off the line. He feels his new position suits him, and is confident if he stays there all season, he will improve on last term’s return of two league goals.

“I’ve spoken to the gaffer and said I want to improve on the goal return,” said Power, who will return to action when Sunderland travel to Oxford on Saturday. “In the last few games, I’m getting in the box a lot more now.

“It’s something I want to add to my game. I’ve been given more of a licence to go forward, so I feel as though I’ll be able to arrive in the box and get shots off.

“I’m a team player and I’ll always do what’s asked of me. But I won’t hide the fact that I do enjoy playing higher up. I feel as if I can get more goals there. Over the last two seasons, the goal return has probably been in question, but I’ve been playing a disciplined role in front of a back four. I want to justify the manager’s faith for playing me ten or 15 yards further up the pitch.”

Power’s earliest performances in a Sunderland shirt saw him stationed as an attacking-midfielder, but a flurry of red cards meant he was sidelined for two months, and by the time he returned under Jack Ross, his responsibilities had altered.

“I look at my first games in a Sunderland shirt – Scunthorpe at home and Gillingham away – and I played in a similar role, 15 or 20 yards higher up,” he said. “But then I missed two months, and when I came back, the formation had changed.”