Kenwyne Jones is hopeful that Sunderland will become a Premier League force over the coming years.
The Black Cats have not been able to establish themselves in the top flight in recent seasons but, after winning promotion last term, they are well placed to stay up with just six games remaining.
Back-to-back victories against Aston Villa and West Ham have lifted them seven points clear of the bottom three and Jones is looking to the future with optimism.
He believes Sunderland will be much stronger next season and feels the years of going back and forth from the Championship are well and truly over.
"So far Sunderland have been a yo-yo club going up and coming down and it would be an achievement to break that sequence and go on to become a Premier League power," said the striker in the Daily Express.
"This season will do a lot for the club and the fans and, if we do stay up, next year we will build and become a stronger team.
"For us it was just a lack of experience that held us back and stopped us putting more points on the board, but now we are showing that we are making good progress.
"We are turning things around and aiming to put a string of results together that will keep us up."
Jones is fully aware that there is still work to do to secure survival, but he expects Sunderland to see the job through
He urged: "It's good that we've been able to put some breathing space between ourselves and the bottom three but we've got to remain focused.
"We will be treating every game as if our lives depend on it, but it's encouraging that the last two wins have put us on the road to safety - and I believe we will get there, because I am confident in the team and its ability."