Kenwyne Jones reckons the Sunderland “sleeping giant” is finally awakening from its slumber.
Against a physical Burnley side the striker played a big role in helping the Black Cats notch a third straight home victory, a win that takes them to within four points of their tenth-place target.
It also confirms beyond all doubt that the club will play in the Premier League again next season – three games before the campaign ends.
Twelve months on from staying up on the final day of the season that represents decent progress and Jones feels the club is “on the up”. “Last season it went down to the last day and, even though we have had a blip, you can see the progress that has been made,” he said.
“Last year and the year before it went down to the final weekend or so, so it feels nice to know that we are definitely safe now, with three to play.
“You can see by the quality we have in our team that we are not that far away from the top ten. What will it take to move on up? We really need a bigger squad because this year we had injuries and suspensions back to back.
“There’s always a team that has that during the season and it tolled for us. Hopefully we will have a squad with more depth in it next year and we can push for the top ten. This does feel like a club on the up. The club has always been a sleeping giant.”
Sunderland take on Hull, Manchester United and Wolves before the end of the season and Jones has promised there will be no let-up before the season’s end.
“We are not giving up this season now. Every game is still important,” he said.
Meanwhile, Jones reckons he’ll have to get used to referees not looking out for him after feeling he was targeted by Burnley defenders.
“I think the referee needs to watch videos for the last three years. It’s nothing new, it always happens. I guess I just have to live it,” he said.