JACK COLBACK insists his former academy coach Kevin Ball has the qualities needed to be a Premier League manager.
Sunderland have confirmed that caretaker boss Ball will remain in charge for Saturday’s visit of Manchester United, while the Black Cats hierarchy consider their options over a successor to the sacked Paolo Di Canio.
Gus Poyet is still the firm front-runner to succeed Di Canio, while ex-Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen is also in contention, but Ball will have another opportunity to stake his claim against the reigning Premier League champions.
Former Sunderland skipper Ball is eager to be appointed on a permanent basis, despite his experience of front-line management being limited to two temporary stints in charge of the club he has served for two decades.
And Colback, who played under Ball at Under-18 level, says the 48-year-old would gain the support of the Sunderland dressing room, if owner Ellis Short opts to appoint from within.
Colback told the Echo: “I’ve worked with Bally a lot and he’d certainly be the one person who would love the job more than anyone.
“The fans love him too.
“The decision is obviously nothing to do with me, but while he’s here, he’ll get everyone’s support and commitment.
“I think it’s obvious to see he’s got the attributes of a manager.
“As a player, he showed why he was captain of teams. He’s that sort of guy.
“He’s a leader and everyone gets fired up.
“Everyone respects him and I think that’s the most important thing. We have respect for him and he has respect for us.
“It’s made a big difference since he’s come in and the players really want to do well for him, the fans and the club.”
Colback is the second member of the Sunderland squad to back Ball’s claims after skipper John O’Shea expressed similar sentiments.
The left-back has been impressed by Ball’s impact on performances after inheriting a side languishing at the foot of the Premier League table.
And although Sunderland were unable to alter that perilous situation in Sunday’s defeat to Liverpool, Colback believes there were signs of progress.
“Obviously it didn’t work out (under Di Canio)” added the 23-year-old.
“Bally is in now and it’s been good since he took over.
“He got a good result in the cup and we went into the Liverpool game with confidence.
“We were hoping to get some points, but it didn’t happen and everyone just needs to stay positive, the fans as well.
“I know it’s difficult for them when the team is losing, but if they stick with us, we’ll certainly give 100 per cent every game.
“And I think if we played like we did in the second half for periods, then we’ll be fine.”