Sunderland winger Carlos Edwards is banking on a strong pre-season as he looks to force himself back into the reckoning for a regular first team spot.
Edwards, 30, made 26 appearances in the red and white last season, with all but three coming in 2009. The Trinidadian paceman spent time on loan in the Championship with Wolves last season, but was recalled after playing only six games under former Sunderland chief Mick McCarthy at Molineux.
A mid-November return heralded a bigger senior look-in on Wearside, and Edwards says hard pre-season work is the key to an expanded role under new Stadium of Light boss Steve Bruce.
"My main objective is to break back into the first team with Sunderland and become a regular," he told safc.com.
"The new manager has come in and I know to get a place I must impress him in training and show him I am ready when he gives me the nudge to come in.
"It's been tough so far but if you're not working hard then it's not as enjoyable. This has been something different to the other eleven pre-seasons I have done.
"From day one the manager has made it clear that everyone has a clean slate and he is a fair man. The guys respect that and the relationship between us will get better and better over time."
Edwards has spent the last week training with the rest of the squad under the watchful eye of Bruce, who made a close-season move from Barclays Premier League counterparts Wigan Athletic.
And he says that Bruce and his new staff have already made a connection with the current crop of players vying to start the new 2009/10 campaign - something which could bode well for the future.
"It shouldn't be too much of an adjustment for us or him because we are getting to know each other already and everyone is clicking. We must go about our jobs and it is up to us as players to help the new coaching staff, as well as them helping us.
"Obviously we have only been together for a week and the manager is bound to do some things differently.
"We have underachieved during the last couple of seasons but the new manager has come here because he knows Sunderland are a big club.
"As players we will do whatever we can to help him realise his ambitions for the club. I think we can push on this season and aim for the top 10."
Edwards will be in the mix for this Thursday's friendly against League Two outfit Darlington - the precursor to trips to Portugal and Amsterdam.
"The pre-season games look tough, but that is good as we want to be going into the Bolton game on the back of some good tests and good performances," he added.
"We want to give as good an account of ourselves as possible. It is not called pre-season for nothing - what we are doing now is a dress rehearsal for the real thing and we must make sure we are ready."