JACK COLBACK says the arrival of Liam Bridcutt should give him the licence to be an attacking threat on a more consistent basis.
Academy product Colback produced a man of the match display in last weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby after he had a hand in Sunderland’s opening two goals before netting the third himself.
It was only the fourth goal in more than 100 Sunderland appearances for the 24-year-old, who has been looking to develop a sharper attacking edge for the last couple of years.
But with deadline day signing Bridcutt happy to sit in front of the back and offer a protective presence in Gus Poyet’s three-man central midfield, Colback wants to use the capture of the former Brighton man to offer more going forwards.
Colback told the Echo: “Liam handled it (his Premier League debut) very well last weekend.
“He was obviously thrown in at the deep end a little bit, but he’s composed on the ball and he’s a good player. He can deal with it.
“He’ll be massively important for us.
“I think that role is the key one for the manager. Catts (Lee Cattermole) has been there and has done well in it too.
“Liam came in and he’s done well. He reads the game well and he looks a very good player.
“We’re over the moon to have him.
“With him holding, it gives us the licence to get forwards.”
Bridcutt was not the only one of Colback’s team-mates who helped him to shine on Tyneside.
The performance of lone striker Jozy Altidore was key to Sunderland’s 3-0 victory, as the American produced arguably his best display for the Black Cats in physically dominating Newcastle’s centre-halves.
And Colback admits that if Altidore can provide a platform like that, it gives the midfielders a chance to feed off him.
He added: “It was coming off quite often at Newcastle.
“They seemed to let us run a bit and Jozy was fantastic in holding it up and doing all the things that maybe won’t get highlighted.
“That gave us the platform to push on.”
* Don’t miss your online Football Echo – it’s out tomorrow, around 6.45pm – on sunderland.echo.com and on the Sunderland Echo app