SUNDERLAND'S Lynden Gooch has his sights set on the ultimate prize and says this has to be the year the club achieves promotion back to the Championship. 

Gooch, 25, has been a part of the side that were relegated from the Premier League and the Championship along with three failed promotion pushes in League One so has had plenty of experience in the downfall of the club. 

The American has featured in 142 league appearances for the Black Cats in total whilst making four appearances for the national side.

The midfielder was in the starting line-up for both of Sunderland's play-off ties against Lincoln City where they lost 3-2 on aggregate. 

He admits the fire is still in the belly of the squad as they look to make it fourth time lucky this season. 

"I think we need to take it one step at a time and get fit, but the ambition is obviously to get promoted" the American admitted.

"We've failed three years now, so we need to make sure we do it this year."

Sunderland were recently boosted by the acquisition of former Huddersfield Town attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard. 

The 28-year-old ignored the interest of several Championship sides to move to the Stadium of Light on a two-year deal. 

While Pritchard remains the only senior signing of the transfer window so far for Sunderland, Gooch doesn't think they should be pressing the panic button. 

"Some teams have done business, some teams haven't.

"You can't read too much into it. It is what it is and we've just got to make sure that we're fit and ready to go."

Sunderland's next pre-season friendly is away to York City on Wednesday 21st July.