JACK COLBACK hopes Sunderland can rediscover last season’s knack for late heroics to ease any renewed relegation worries.
In the early stages of Martin O’Neill’s reign, Sunderland grabbed winners in the dying stages against Blackburn, QPR and Manchester City, with those victories proving crucial towards propelling the Black Cats away from the bottom three.
Sunderland have had opportunities to mirror those results in the last three games, but have been unable to profit from late chances in defeats to Reading, Arsenal and West Brom.
And with the gap with the drop zone now reduced to five points, Colback knows the Black Cats need to find some success in a run of three games against bottom half sides Fulham, QPR and Norwich.
Colback told SportMail: “When you look at last season, we got a few late goals and it made a big difference in terms of our league position.
“We’ve just got to make sure we start picking up some points again and make sure the end of the season is a bit more comfortable.
“We need to win these home games coming up and then see if we can pick anything up away.”
Despite Sunderland dropping to 15th spot in the Premier League table, Colback still believes a top half finish is a “realistic goal” for the Black Cats.
O’Neill’s side remain a modest four points adrift of 10th placed Stoke City and Colback says last month’s back-to-back victories over West Ham and Wigan showed how upward progress can be swiftly made.
“I think the top half is a realistic goal, that’s where we’ve got to be looking,” said Colback, expected to remain at left-back for Saturday’s visit of Fulham with Danny Rose still sidelined.
“We got close a couple of weeks ago after back-to-back wins and if you get that again, you’ll be back up there.
“It’s where we should be looking to be.”