JACK Colback is confident he can become a Premier League regular despite admitting he will forget his full top-flight bow in a hurry.
The 21-year-old impressed on his first league start in a Sunderland shirt at Birmingham City on Saturday after Steve Bruce’s injury woes led him to turn to the home-grown midfielder.
Since returning from his second loan spell at Championship club Ipswich Town in January, Colback has been restricted to a meagre four top-flight opportunities from the bench.
Despite finally being given his chance from the start, Sunderland’s eighth defeat in nine games marred the Tynesider’s debut, with the gulf to the relegation zone dropping to five points.
Colback told the Echo: “Obviously, it was a bitter-sweet debut with the defeat. I don’t think it will be one I’ll remember – it just felt like another game.
“I felt I did OK with the things I did – kept the ball and broke up the play a bit. But I would have hoped to get involved a bit more in the second half.
“It’s a step up from the Championship definitely. The tempo’s a lot quicker and the lads are stronger.
“But, once I get time to settle, I’m sure I’ll become comfortable with the league.
“It’s been frustrating since coming back from Ipswich. But the gaffer’s brought in a lot of good players and I knew it was going to be hard to get in the team.
“I was happy to wait for my chance and hopefully I’ll get a few more now.”
Sunderland produced one of their most encouraging displays in months, yet were left to count the cost of Simon Mignolet and Phil Bardsley’s suicidal mix-up four minutes before the break.
Although the Black Cats responded well at the start of the second half, Craig Gardner grabbed the Blues’ crucial second goal to halt Sunderland’s comeback.
Sunderland now face back-to-back home games against Wigan and Fulham as they bid to halt their descent towards the bottom three.
“Unfortunately, we didn’t get the luck we needed to get the goals and come away with something,” added Colback. “After the first 10-minute spell, we looked comfortable.
“The way the goal went in was unlucky, but luck’s what you need at a time like this.
“In the second half, we came out strong, had chances to score and on another day they’d have gone in.
“But we’d rather play badly and get something at this time of the season than play well and get beat.
“It’s the nature of this league. It’s cut-throat and if you don’t take your chances, you’ll get punished at the other end.
“This slide down the league has happened too quickly and we need to put a stop to it.
“We’re getting too close to the bottom.
“But we’ve got two home games coming up and two wins will completely change the season around.
“All the games are big ones from now on.
“But the lads will be confid-ent that we can get something at the Stadium of Light.”