Keane to call on northern alliance?

IPSWICH Town teenager Jack Colback believes a Geordie-Mackem midfield engine could be the undoing of the Smoggies tomorrow.

Stuart Watson

IPSWICH Town teenager Jack Colback believes a Geordie-Mackem midfield engine could be the undoing of the Smoggies tomorrow.

The 19-year-old was born in the heart of Tyneside and grew up a Newcastle fan, while new-signing and fellow central midfielder Grant Leadbitter grew up in Wearside as a staunch Black Cats supporter.

But the duo will be united tomorrow as they take on the rivals of both north east clubs, Middlesbrough, at the Riverside Stadium.

Leadbitter, a �2.6m signing from Sunderland on transfer deadline day, will almost certainly go straight into the team, while Colback, currently on loan from Sunderland until January, could well partner him after impressing against Preston.

The pair - who never played together at Sunderland - are both very much in the industrious Roy Keane mould, however, Colback says he sees no reason why the partnership would not work for Ipswich, their hard-working mentality potentially allowing for the likes of creative wide players Lee Martin and Carlos Edwards to be more attack minded.

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“I've always looked at Grant as an example,” said Colback, who trailed for Middlesbrough as a nine-year-old before deciding they were not the right club for him.

“He was in the Sunderland team for the last four or five years while I was coming up through the academy.

“The academy director there always compared me to Grant because we are both quite similar in the way we play. We both work hard and get after the ball.

“Grant is a great player. He has a great range of passing and can score goals too so I see no reason why we can't form a good partnership.”

Colback captained the Sunderland reserves last season having skippered the club's Under-18 side to the FA Youth Cup semi-finals side a couple of years ago.

He has not yet featured in the Black Cats' first team but has already made four appearances, including three starts, since his arrival at Portman Road.

“I never expected to come down and be straight in the team,” said Colback. “The manager warned me that it would be hard and I knew that there were a lot of good players in my position, but I've been given a few chances. Hopefully I'll get a few more and all I can do is keep trying to take them in order to stay in the team.”

Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, he added: “The manager is a winner, he's a winning character and he'll do anything to turn things around. All the players have got faith that we'll turn things round and get up the table where we should be. It's frustrating because we know we are better than this.

“We just need that little bit of luck to get that win. Whether that be this weekend or in a couple of weeks time - it will happen. I think it will literally take just one win and we'll kick on.

“Saturday is a perfect chance for us to do that. We'll go there and nobody will be giving us hope but that will be just the inspiration we need.”