Sunderland playing it cool ahead of Colback reunion

Jack Colback in the build-up to his goal in February's Tyne-Wear derby

Jack Colback in the build-up to his goal in February's Tyne-Wear derby

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SUNDERLAND skipper John O’Shea insists there will be no pleasantries with Jack Colback before this weekend’s Tyne-Wear derby.

Black Cats academy product Colback will come up against his former team-mates at St James’s Park on Sunday (1.30pm kick-off) – 10 months after netting in Sunderland colours in the same fixture.

The 25-year-old has been a key figure for Newcastle this season after rejecting the chance to stay at the Stadium of Light during the summer to pen a Bosman deal with Alan Pardew’s men.

But he won’t get a warm reception from his ex-colleagues before kick-off at St James’s, with the Black Cats striving for an unprecedented fourth successive league win over the Magpies.

O’Shea told the Echo: “Whatever happens afterwards – shaking hands – there’ll be none of that beforehand.

“Jack will be doing everything he can for Newcastle.

“He’s been one of their best performers this season and we know what he’s capable of.

“He did it to Newcastle last season.

“I’m sure whoever is playing in midfield, Jack will be looking to get right into them and likewise for us as well.”

O’Shea has led Sunderland to 3-0 victories in each of their last two visits to Tyneside, with the Black Cats boasting a five-game unbeaten run against Pardew’s side.

He admits that the memory of those successes should provide a helping hand to Sunderland this weekend.

But the 33-year-old knows that Newcastle will be equally desperate to end Sunderland’s recent dominance in the fixture, particularly after their Capital One Cup elimination in midweek.

“When you’ve been successful in these games, that’s an important psychological thing,” said the centre-half.

“But you can talk about these things, you have to go out and do them on Sunday afternoon when there’s going to be lots of people in the stadium willing you to have a bad game.

“I’m sure the Newcastle lads will be reminded of the recent games, so there’s motivation on both sides.

“Ultimately, it’s down to us and how we prepare.

“Whatever team the manager picks, we have to do our stuff on the pitch.

“The players who perform best on the day and are technically sound, will come out on top.

“Newcastle won’t have been too happy with the result in midweek.

“But they’ve been on a fantastic run of form, so we’re under no illusions that it’s going to be tough.

“We’ve been very solid, though, and close to winning lots of matches.

“We just need a bit of a killer instinct all round the pitch to make sure we come away with three points instead of a draw.”

O’Shea, a veteran of Manchester derbies, is yet to taste defeat against Newcastle while in Sunderland colours and is relishing an occasion which he believes is among the world’s best rivalries.

“It’s just a fantastic game to be involved in,” he added.

“I used to watch the games on the telly, but then you don’t realise until you come and play in them that they’re up there with some of the biggest in world football because of the intensity and atmosphere.

“It’s why you’re a footballer to play in games like this.

“I’ve had some fantastic moments in derbies and some not so nice ones, particularly so in Manchester.

“But up here, they’ve gone quite well so far and hopefully that continues.”

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