Jack Baldwin believes Sunderland's pre-season trip to Portugal is exactly what's needed to integrate the new players into the squad.
On Wednesday, the Black Cats jet off to their European base where they will take on Benfica B and C.F. Belenenses.
After dusting off the cobwebs last week at South Shields in the Lads' 2-0 win, Baldwin is feeling good after the initial couple of weeks of pre-season are out of the way and the new season is now on the horizon.
“It was a good run out against South Shields, and everyone was able to get some minutes under their belt.
“It is completely different to training. It is good to get that match sharpness back. It was nice to get the win, but pre-season is all about fitness and getting match ready and the game on Thursday really helped in that respect."
He continued: “The first week of pre-season was one of the toughest I have had in my career.
“The changing room is a lively environment which is great, and everyone is in good spirits.
“We are getting the balls out a bit more now and started to focus on what we are going to be doing on the pitch and get ready for the start of the season.”
“The way the season ended last year was really tough for everybody. I personally wasn’t the easiest person to live with for a few weeks after.
"It was good for everyone to get away and relax with their families so that we can come back recharged and ready for the season ahead.
“At the same time, going into this season I think we are determined to put last season’s disappointment right.
“I am really looking forward to get away to Portugal with everyone.
“It will be good for the bonding and building that team spirit which will be integral. It will be great to get to know the new lads properly and bring everyone together.”