NEWCASTLE United have been given the inside line on Sunderland – by Jack Colback.
Colback helped earned his controversial move to St James’s Park with his derby performances last season.
And Magpie manager Alan Pardew has got the lowdown on Gus Poyet’s side from the Tyneside-born midfielder, who scored in Sunderland’s 3-0 win at St James’s Park back in February.
Colback – who was “aggrieved” at the behaviour of his former club after his exit, according to Pardew – has given Newcastle a valuable insight ahead of the 151st meeting between the clubs.
“I had a chat with Jack about what he thought Sunderland would do and how they approach the game,” said Pardew.
“I picked his brains, which is sensible. He is very calm, and told me what they possibly might do, which I’m not going to tell you.” Colback was arguably the best player on the pitch in the fixture last season.
And Pardew – whose side have lost the last three derbies – felt his two performances against Newcastle “ticked a lot of boxes” for him.
“The way he played on those big occasions told me a lot about the player,” said Pardew (pictured, right).
“When I like a player and he performs in the big games it ticks a lot of boxes for me.”
After Colback’s summer move to Newcastle as a free agent was confirmed, Sunderland issued a montage of photographs of the 25-year-old on Twitter, including one of him celebrating his goal against the Tynesiders.
The tweet was later deleted, and Pardew said: “Yes, that was unfortunate. “I think somebody got their bottom smacked for that one, and quite rightly.”
Pardew feels Colback has handled his Tyne-Wear move well – on and off the pitch.
Colback has been one of the club’s most consistent performers so far this season.
“I can only go with the conversations I’ve had with Jack,” he said.
“He’s handled the move impeccably, because he took a bit of criticism after it and he didn’t respond, which I think is the right thing.
“I think he feels a bit aggrieved about the way it ended at Sunderland. His performances for us have been fantastic. He has grown in terms of having a different role here. I’ve given him a number of different scenarios, which he has always answered.
“I couldn’t be more delighted with him. He was a major thorn in our side in these fixtures, so I’m just pleased he’s not playing for Sunderland on Sunday, if I’m honest.
“I’m sure Gus would mirror that.”
Meanwhile, Pardew is confident that Rolando Aarons – currently sidelined by a hamstring injury – will agree a new deal at Newcastle United.
The Magpies’ offer of a six-year deal worth £6,000-a-week has been rejected by the 19-year-old, who has 18 months to run on his deal.
Talks have all but broken down with Aarons’s representatives, but Pardew is hopeful a compromise can be reached, saying: “Somewhere along the line, I think some sense will come into those negotiations.”