JACK Colback insists he will handle the heat if chosen to make his first competitive Sunderland appearance on Tyneside tomorrow.
Sunderland’s youngsters froze in the ferocity of the atmosphere at the Sports Direct Arena last season and it spread to the more senior members of the side as the Black Cats slumped to a 5-1 drubbing.
Colback was on loan at Championship outfit Ipswich Town for that Halloween nightmare, with both of the 21-year-old’s appearances for Sunderland against the Magpies coming at the Stadium of Light.
But Colback says Sunderland should thrive on the animosity in tomorrow’s derby clash as they look to inflict only a third home defeat of the season on Alan Pardew’s side.
Colback said: “Obviously it’ll be an intimidating atmosphere, but that’s football.
“If you can’t deal with games like that, you shouldn’t be playing.
“Certainly, if I get the nod, I won’t be freezing, I’ll go out there and do my best for the team.
“You get a bit of motivation when you go to places and the fans are on your back. If anything, it gives you that boost.
“I’m sure the atmosphere will be good – they’ll make it intimidating for us.
“But we’ll have a full allocation up there who will give us the motivation to do well.
“We know how tough the game will be, because they’ve been doing well at home.
“But we’re going there with a lot of confidence and that result against West Brom last weekend will give us the wake-up call we need.”
Colback has played at the Sports Direct in red and white before – scoring in 2008’s 2-1 reserve team success against the Magpies.
“I expect the game to be a bit more intense than that one!” said Colback.
“But if we could pull off the same result, I’d be over the moon, especially if I scored.”
H Sunderland have sold out their 5,800 ticket allocation for the FA Cup quarter-final at Everton.
The club revealed that season ticket applications, which closed yesterday, were “heavily oversubscribed”.