Lynden Gooch is happy at Sunderland and wants to nail down a regular place after an impressive pre-season.
The academy product bagged a brace in Saturday’s 6-0 friendly thrashing of St Mirren, taking his tally to three goals.
There has been intense speculation about the future of several Sunderland players. But Gooch is happy on Wearside and eager to cement a place in Jack Ross’s starting XI.
When quizzed on his future, Gooch said: “As far as I’m concerned, I’m here and I’ve got another year on my contract, so I’m happy.
“I’m playing well and I just want to continue playing well and scoring goals, and keep playing confidently.
“Hopefully we’re winning games and we can go back up.”
Sunderland have just one more friendly, away to Middlesbrough on Friday night, before the League One opener against Charlton on August 4.
Gooch has been a regular so far under new boss Ross and, after a frustrating 2017-18 campaign, which saw him in and out the side, he just wants to play.
“I just want to play games,” added Gooch. “I think that’s the biggest thing for me at my age, I need to be playing regularly.
“Last year, I played more than the year before, but just playing week-in, week-out is just massive for me. If I can do that, I can be more consistent and make more of an impact on the team.
“I’m delighted with my form. I’ve said before that, if I get a run of games, hopefully I can score more goals and get more assists. I think last year was a bit stop-start.
“When I did play well, I was out of the team the next week, so I hope that, if the manager sticks with me, I’ll be able to produce for him.
“I was in and out, but I think a lot of times when players came back from injury they were straight back in the team and I had to miss out, which was really frustrating for me.
“I think, towards the end of the season, I showed the manager I should be playing.
“Since day one, I’ve just been trying to work hard and keep really fit during the summer as well.”
It has been a summer of major upheaval with new owners, a new manager and a new-look squad taking shape, with seven new arrivals to date, while several players and some staff have left Sunderland.
Gooch added: “It’s a lot of changes within the club – not just players but staff as well.
“A lot of people have left the club who I’ve known for a long time and it’s sad to see certain people go.
“Everything’s been positive since the first day of pre-season and Portugal.
“Everyone’s been upbeat and good together.”