Tom Flanagan wants his Sunderland side to recreate the endeavour they showed in beating him and Burton Albion last season as they target an immediate return to the Championship.
One of those outings came in last season's 2-0 home defeat to Sunderland in November, one of few high points for the visitors and another setback during a campaign of home struggles for Albion.
Chris Coleman's side struck twice in the final 10 minutes of a cagey clash, with James Vaughan and George Honeyman finding the net as Sunderland grew more and more dominant.
It was the sort of performance that Flanagan thinks the Black Cats will need more of in 2018-19 if they are to bounce back from relegation and earn promotion to the second tier.
"It's about the hard work - with the quality we have in the squad already, before you even add any more players, if we're working as hard as our opponents then we'll win games," Flanagan told the Sunderland Echo.
"There'll be dark times I'm sure, times when you lose some, because that's what League One is like.
"The key is consistency and building momentum from that. For that, you need hard work.
"I actually think that showed when Sunderland came to Burton last season.
"It was a scrap, but they actually did work harder than us.
"I remember being told that in the dressing room afterwards, and when I watched the game back it was obvious.
"They were all over the second balls and I think we were a bit surprised by that.
"We probably thought we could bully them like we did some of the bigger teams - I remember one game against Derby County and they didn't know what had hit them."