JACK Colback says the fact so many people have written Sunderland off in the run of tough home fixtures to come might benefit the Black Cats.
Arsenal’s visit to the Stadium of Light tomorrow marks a tough run of fixtures for Paolo Di Canio’s men, with Liverpool, Manchester United, local rivals Newcastle and Manchester City to follow in quick succession.
Speculation has been intense about Sunderland’s prospects in those games in the wake of a poor start to the season which has seen only one point taken from their first three matches.
But Colback – who will continue at left-back against the Gunners – believes Sunderland’s players will be unfazed about the task ahead and says he personally is relishing the challenge.
“We can only look at each game as it comes, starting with Arsenal,” the Tynesider told the Echo.
“As a set of fixtures, it looks daunting, but every game in the Premier League is tough, so it is not as if runs like this are unexpected.
“Maybe it will help a bit more the fact that we’re going into these games with people not expecting us to get anything.
“That takes the pressure off a bit.
“But I can tell everyone that we’re not going into these games expecting to get beaten.
“We’ve shown in the past that we can good get results against the bigger teams, especially at our stadium.
“We’ve been working hard all this week and all last week to get the lads focused.”
Colback accepts that the eyes of the football world will be on the Stadium of Light this weekend to see how ex-Real Madrid star Mesut Ozil fares on his Arsenal debut.
But the defender is hoping the media leave Wearside talking about a first win of the season for the Black Cats.
“Arsenal have started well,” he acknowledged.
“They had a lot of pressure on them in the transfer window about making signings but obviously the signing of Ozil is perfect for them.
“I think it’s good for Arsenal and good for the Premier League that he’s here – Cesc Fabregas rated him as the second best player at Real Madrid behind Ronaldo – and it will be a good experience to play against him.
“But, even without him, they’re a side that always end up coming out and playing well.
“They’re a good team and they’re a very hard team to play against because they keep the ball well and are dangerous and you’re always under pressure from them.
“But they’re not unbeatable and we will look closely at their strengths and weaknesses, because we have a lot of quality in our team,.
“Our start has been disappointing, but we know we can do a lot better than we have so far.”