Jamie McAllister has given his thoughts on Saturday's clash against Gillingham at the Priestfield Stadium, and has assessed the start to Sunderland's season.
The Lads play their first league game in a fortnight this weekend and will look to bounce back in terms of league outings, but used the international break to productive effect with some of the club's Academy prospects showing some excellent performances.
"Gillingham are a very physical and well organised side," the Assistant Head Coach firstly noted.
"We know what to expect from a Steve Evans team and they'll present a real challenge to us. They're perhaps not where they want to be at the moment, but it's another game and a chance for them to start off their season; it's a chance for us to put the Portsmouth game to bed and get the win.
"The international lads are back and the ones who've not been away have had their rest and now look sharp."
The Black Cats have taken 22 points from their opening 10 Sky Bet League One matches, a point short of league leaders Plymouth Argyle - who have albeit played a further two.
"The top six is quite tight and we have a couple of games in hand on Plymouth," said McAllister.
"We've done well in the cups and we feel that it's majorly been a good start to the season.
"We see the Portsmouth game as a blip - a one-off match - and they played the conditions better than we did. We've had some honest discussions with the players and now we want to go on and do the job Saturday."
With several of the youngsters at the club excelling in recent days, hope has been raised on Wearside surrounding the unity amongst the camp, from players and coaches to staff and supporters - something with which McAllister agrees wholeheartedly.
"What we always try to do at the club is to have that continuity and togetherness.
"We want to push this huge club forward as one. We went to watch the Under-15s play against Newcastle the other night - a great game which ended 3-3 and the boys were excellent.
"It's important to have that link all the way through the Academy. All the players and staff here at this club want the same thing - we want to be successful, and there's still a lot more to come."