Pre-season is vital for emerging Colback

01 June 2011 09:33
JACK Colback claims Sunderland's forthcoming pre-season programme will be crucial to his hopes of cementing a first-team spot next season.[LNB] The Black Cats finalised their pre-season plans earlier this week when they confirmed a six-game tour of Germany that will feature matches against Arminia Bielefeld, Hannover and Borussia Monchengladbach.[LNB] Having started the final six matches of last season, Colback is expected to feature heavily when Sunderland begin their preparations for the new campaign in July.[LNB] And with Steve Bruce hoping to make a number of additions to his squad in the next six weeks, the Killingworth-born midfielder is determined to push himself to the forefront of his manager's mind.[LNB] It's an important preseason for me, said Colback, who spent much of the early part of last season on loan at Ipswich Town. I need to keep my head down and make sure I'm in the manager's plans again because I don't want to have done what I have then fade away again. I need to push on.[LNB] I want to be in the first team next year. I want to be playing Premier League football and hopefully that will be here. I want to knuckle down and prove that I am worth a place in the squad.[LNB] Two summers ago, when Bruce first arrived at the Stadium of Light, Jordan Henderson performed so impressively in pre-season that the Black Cats boss felt urged to elevate him straight into the first-team squad.[LNB] The youngster has not looked back since, making 38 senior appearances two seasons ago and starting 37 of Sunderland's 38 Premier League matches last term.[LNB] Later this month, Henderson will be representing England in the European Under-21 Championships in Denmark, and while Colback can count himself somewhat unfortunate not to be involved in the squad, he will be looking to emulate his team-mate's rapid progress when he returns to action later this summer.[LNB] I spoke to the manager before and he's always said that Jordan's the example I need to follow, said Colback.[LNB] He caught his eye (in preseason) and that's what I want to do this pre-season.[LNB] Jordan's been an inspiration for everyone.[LNB] He's proved you can come in and be a regular. He's been fantastic this season, he was great last year and he can only go from strength to strength.[LNB] Meanwhile, Sunderland youngster Jordan Cook claims a recent loan spell at Walsall aided his development significantly.[LNB] Cook went to League One Walsall on loan towards the end of last season, and helped the Saddlers avoid relegation on a dramatic final day.[LNB] Overall it went really well, said the 21-year-old striker, who has made three senior substitute appearances for the Black Cats. The way I saw it when I went, it was a win-win situation. I wanted to help Walsall stay up, and they achieved that.[LNB] I feel like going there has definitely improved me as a player. Obviously I want to play at Premier League level, but there are still good players and teams in League One.[LNB]

Source: Northern_Echo