JACK Colback admits Wigan’s record of escape acts has heightened Sunderland’s anxiety as they wait to discover their fate tonight.
Sunderland’s Premier League status will effectively be assured if third bottom Wigan fail to emerge victorious at Champions League-chasing Arsenal this evening.
But despite facing a fourth outing in 10 days against a Gunners side needing a victory themselves to regain their top four spot, the FA Cup winners have scraped out of perilous situations in each of the last two seasons.
In 2011, the Latics won their last two games to move out of the drop zone, and then won seven of their final nine fixtures last season, including a 2-1 win at the Emirates.
Colback is wary of lightning striking a third time after ruing Sunderland’s inability to cement their own destiny by failing to beat both Stoke and Southampton.
“If it was any other team than Wigan, then you’d be a bit more confident,” said the midfielder.
“As they showed in the cup final on Saturday, they can beat anyone.
“We’re focusing on Tottenham on Sunday, but I’m sure there’ll be an eye on the game tonight and hopefully Arsenal can do us a favour.
“We should have sealed it for ourselves on Sunday though.
“We should have won against Stoke, although after going down to 10 men, you’d have taken a draw.
“But going into Sunday’s game, it was one we should have got the three points from.
“That’s obviously easier said than done and we’re disappointed.”
Colback concedes Sunderland didn’t do enough to merit a third win of the Paolo Di Canio era against Southampton after a below-par display against their fellow strugglers.
But the 23-year-old says the Black Cats should still have held on to the three points after Phil Bardsley’s first goal of the season gave Di Canio’s side a second half lead.
“Sunday was disappointing,” added Colback.
“It was another game that we went into thinking we could win and secure safety for definite.
“When we got that goal, we should have stayed solid and seen it through, but unfortunately we let it slip.
“Southampton could probably argue they deserved a draw. They played well in the first half, kept the ball, which made it hard to get near them.
“We didn’t play well, we weren’t up to standard.
“In the second half, we improved a bit and got the goal, but we should have held on.”