SAFC star Jack Colback wants to avoid “second-season syndrome”

YOUNG GUNS ... Sunderland's Jack Colback and James McClean.
YOUNG GUNS ... Sunderland's Jack Colback and James McClean.

JACK COLBACK is determined to avoid the second-season syndrome by adding a goal threat to his game.

Colback completed his first full season in Sunderland’s first-team last year after starting 29 of 38 Premier League encounters – a tally only bettered for the Black Cats by Seb Larsson and Stephane Sessegnon.

Both Steve Bruce and Martin O’Neill were equally eager to utilise Colback, with the latter handing the central midfielder a two-year contract extension within a month of arriving at the Stadium of Light.

But the 22-year-old struggled to match his all-round contribution with goals after finding the net just twice – scoring for Sunderland for the first time in Boxing Day’s draw with Everton before firing home a stunning opener in the FA Cup sixth round replay success at Middlesbrough.

Colback believes he has the potential to reach double figures in a solitary season and is keen to develop as an attacking arsenal when he returns for pre-season training next month.

He told SportMail: “I’ve always said that I need to be offering more than just keeping the ball.

“I’ve always wanted to improve on the attacking side of the game.

“I believe I should be scoring 10-plus goals a season because you need to help the forwards out.

“Everyone needs to chip in and it’s certainly something I’ll be looking to improve on during pre-season.”

Colback’s rise to prominence has been impressive considering he only made his first Premier League start in April 2011.

Just over a year ago, the Tynesider was unsure whether he had a long-term future at Sunderland after twice being sent on loan to Championship Ipswich Town.

But now Colback is a firm part of the first-team picture on Wearside, with O’Neill impressed by the midfielder’s contribution since taking charge.

“It’s been a fast rise really,” added Colback.

“When I came back from being on loan, I didn’t really expect my career to be here.

“But I managed to get that chance in the first-team and got some games.

“Then the new manager came in and he’s trusted my ability and I’ve played a lot. It was a great season for me.”