Colback Expecting Tractor Boys Test
Written by Dan King
When Ipswich Town last visited St. James' Park in April 2010, Jack Colback was in the Tractor Boys' team
Newcastle had already won the Championship title and were presented with the trophy on the pitch after a 2-2 draw against the East Anglian outfit. Killingworth-born Colback looked on as Nicky Butt, Kevin Nolan and Alan Smith lifted the famous old silverware, surrounded by tickertape in the centre-circle and basking in the adulation of 52,181 cheering supporters.
Now Colback, the boyhood Newcastle fan and current Magpies midfielder, is hoping to experience it for himself at the end of the season. Rafa Benitez's side went top of the table with victory at Barnsley in midweek and Colback is determined to stay there.
"That's the long term goal, obviously. Short term, you've got to take each game as it comes but that's what everyone wants, that's what everyone expects, which is something we've got to live up to," he told nufcTV this week.
"With the squad we've got, we should be getting promoted. Top six is a bare minimum but we've got to be looking to go up automatically.
"If we go up as champions, it'll be the icing on the cake but we know it's going to be hard work. We're not getting carried away as players. We've got to keep working, otherwise we'll lose games if we don't stay on it and stay focused.
"But we're doing alright so far."
Colback was 19 when Sunderland sent him on loan to Ipswich for an initial six months. He ended up staying for the full 2009/10 season, and won the club's players' player of the year award.
He returned for a second spell the following term before returning to establish himself at the Stadium of Light. In all, he made 54 appearances for the Portman Road side, scoring five goals, and he admitted: "I really enjoyed my time there.
"It was my first real step into professional football and it's helped me out massively to (get to) where I am.
"I will always have a lot of fond memories there. I thank them as a club for giving me the opportunity, and Roy Keane when he was there.
"I think we didn't quite live up to expectations - we had a good team, a lot of good players who are playing in the Premier League now, and we probably should have done a bit better than we did.
"But the fans were fine. It's a small place, quite quiet, so it's not quite as intense as up here!"
Ipswich find themselves in midtable now, but boast one of the meanest defences in the division and Colback warned: "They're going to be solid and it may be difficult to break down at times.
"We've got to be patient, like we've shown (in previous games) and not get too carried away - otherwise we'll get caught out."
With the squad we've got, we should be getting promoted. Top six is a bare minimum but we've got to be looking to go up automatically.