Spy Jack Colback plays key role in Newcastle’s plans to finally stop Sunderland

Jack Colback, now a Magpie, celebrates scoring the third goal for Sunderland in last season's 3-0 win at Newcastle
Jack Colback, now a Magpie, celebrates scoring the third goal for Sunderland in last season's 3-0 win at Newcastle
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JACK Colback is Newcastle United’s key man in tomorrow’s Wear-Tyne derby – on and off the pitch.

Boss John Carver has turned to the midfielder for the lowdown on his former Sunderland team-mates.

He’s been in their dressing room, and they’ve won four in a row

John Carver

Colback was in the winning side in his last three derbies as a Sunderland player before crossing the Tyne-Wear divide last summer.

And head coach Carver feels he has gleaned some useful information from the boyhood Newcastle fan, who is braced for a hostile reception at the Stadium of Light (4pm kick-off).

“I’ve certainly had a word with him about behind the scenes and the in-depth analysis on how they used to work and what they used to concentrate on and how they’d approach the derby games,” said Carver.

“That’s the biggest thing. He’s been in their dressing room, and they’ve won four in a row.

“So, whatever they’ve been doing, their approach has been right. We’ve had a chat about that.”

Carver feels Colback has the “character and personality” to deal with the abuse that will come his way from Sunderland fans in the 152nd meeting of the sides.

“I’ll be having a chat with him about how he deals with the situation,” said Carver.

“But he’s a big enough character and personality to deal with the whole thing. For him to come here and score against us as a Newcastle fan, he dealt with that situation.

“And he’s signed for us and dealt with that situation. I’m sure he’ll deal with the occasion as long as he plays the game not the occasion.”

Colback lined up at left-back in Newcastle’s last game – the 2-1 home defeat to Arsenal – but Carver could reshuffle his team and restore the 25-year-old to his midfield.

Carver, however, is keeping his cards close to his chest.

Asked about the option of playing Jonas Gutierrez at left-back, Carver said: “Are you picking the team?

“You’re getting nothing off me. Jack might play in goal. You’re getting nothing in terms of team selection and who might play where and when.”