Colback under the spotlight

JACK COLBACK believes Sunderland’s results have prompted increased scrutiny over his contribution, rather than any dramatic drop in individual form.

Colback made a positive return to the starting line-up in Tuesday night’s 3-0 victory over Reading after being restricted to the bench for Sunderland’s previous three games.

The midfielder had been an ever-present for Sunderland this season before a dip in performances saw Martin O’Neill leave the 23-year-old out.

Supporters had also begun to criticise Colback, with his lack of creativity pinpointed as one of the reasons behind Sunderland’s troubles at the wrong end of the table – an accusation that was similarly levelled against Lee Cattermole in the first half of last season.

Although Colback realises the attacking side of his game needs to improve, he understands his defensive contribution can be overlooked when results are suffering.

Colback said: “Maybe in certain games I didn’t play my best.

“But I think there’s been a lot of games where I didn’t think I was doing any worse than last season.

“When you lose games, it gets highlighted more and anything half-decent that you do gets forgotten about.

“I’ve played games where I’ve felt I haven’t done great, but we’ve won and I’ve been lauded.

“I know I need to push on, scoring goals and starting to create. I’m not a Sessegnon-type player whose going to light up the crowd. That’s not the sort of player I am.

“But I feel that with the job I’ve got, I do it fairly well and hopefully I can keeping playing and keep pushing on.”

Colback will remain in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s trip to Manchester United, albeit he could find himself at left-back if Danny Rose fails to shake off the knock suffered against Reading.

Sunderland head to Old Trafford in buoyant mood after securing only a third top flight victory of the campaign.

And Colback says it is not inconceivable that Sunderland can earn something for their efforts against the league leaders after the boost from moving out of the relegation zone.

“When you go to the top teams, people say you won’t pick anything up, but we’ll be going there looking to hurt them,” added the Tynesider.

“We’re a dangerous side to play. We showed that at Everton.

“We’ll be going there with the belief we can get something.

“Then it’s another big game against Southampton (next weekend) where we’ll be looking to win.

“The mood’s a lot better now.

“Most of us had forgot what it feels like to win a game and it’s one of the best feelings you can have in football.

“The fans go home happy and it’s certainly something we want to keep doing.”