JACK COLBACK believes the arrival of deadline day signings Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos ensures injuries won’t derail Sunderland’s resurgence.
The on-loan defensive pair are both expected to be involved in tomorrow’s trip to Stoke City after Manchester City defender Bridge made his Black Cats bow as a late substitute in Wednesday’s win over Norwich City, while former Liverpool man Kyrgiakos (pictured, right) trained with his new team-mates for the first time yesterday.
Sunderland slumped down the table in the second half of last season when injuries hit and the Black Cats are again stretched this time around with six first-teamers on the treatment table.
But midfielder Colback says signing two players with significant international experience provides Martin O’Neill with the resources needed to maintain a run which has seen Sunderland take 16 points from their last seven games.
Colback told the Echo: “It’s good to see a couple of new players come in, with Wayne playing the other day and Kyrgiakos joining up with us.
“You know they’re only going to strengthen the team and hopefully they can do well for the club.
“It’s important they’ve got Premier League experience. You can’t buy that and it’s key to doing well.
“You need the strength in depth so when there are injuries, you’ve got players who can step in.
“Players like Fraizer (Campbell) have shown that. He’s not played a lot of games, but he’s come back and been fantastic.”
Colback himself has proved Sunderland’s strength in depth after making light of the absence of fellow midfielders David Vaughan and Lee Cattermole with an assured display against the Canaries in his first start for a month following an ankle injury.
“You don’t want to see anyone get injured, but it’s given me the chance to play and I thought I did all right the other night,” said the 22-year-old.
“It was very disappointing to get injured on the back of two wins. But I kept my head down, have got back in the team now and hopefully there will be a few more starts.”
Sunderland head to the Britannia Stadium lying in eighth spot in the table – their highest position of the season.
But the ninth-placed Potters are hot on the heels of O’Neill’s side, with only goal difference separating tomorrow’s two opponents.
Colback added: “We want to push on from last season when we finished 10th and anything below that will probably be a failure. We’re looking upwards and don’t want to be looking down anymore.
“We’ve pulled away from that bottom three and we’re going into every game with a lot of confidence now.
“You can see players trying shots like they are and they’re going in.
“The confidence has always been in the camp, but we’re maybe getting the luck we deserve now. It’s always a tough game going down to Stoke.
“But we’re going into every game at the moment expecting to win.”