Connor Wickham couldn’t have imagined the pressure he’d be under after returning to his parent club Sunderland following a loan spell in the Championship with Sheffield Wednesday.
All of the speculation is pointing towards the fact that Martin O’Neill will throw Wickham in at the deep end for the Premier League clash against Norwich City this weekend, which is a match that the club simply has to win.
Wickham doesn’t have a good record at any point this season, which makes the press rumours all the more amazing and risky if you’re looking at things from a Black Cats point of view.
Wickham is definitely behind the pecking order of other strikers at the club because he scored one goal in six appearances for Sheffield Wednesday and has started only one match for Sunderland this season, with six sub appearances.
The only possible logical reason as to why O’Neill may be considering Wickham for a start against Norwich is because of his Ipswich Town background and what the East Anglian rivalry means to him.
It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Wickham will be extremely fired up for this game and add to that his intense determination because he may have thought his Premier League career was over.
He’s a spiky and charismatic sort of player who could thrive on an atmosphere where he’s getting booed and abused every time he touches the ball because he’s a tractor boy and not a canary.
There is also a massive element of what has the club got to lose here because there are only five other players at the club who have scored more goals than him so far this season.
It’s more than likely that Wickham will be used as an impact player by the club in this match because the stakes are a little too high for O’Neill to literally go mad and start him in such an important match.
There’s no doubt that Wickham is an extremely talented player but to start him ahead of players like Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham at any time seems a ridiculous decision and one which could back fire on the manager if it doesn’t pay off.
The biggest hint that O’Neill has plans for him is the fact he didn’t allow him to go back to Sheffield Wednesday on loan for the rest of the season. Fingers crossed if you’re a Sunderland fan that it’s a decision which pays off.
How do you think Sunderland are going to use Wickham?
image: © vagueonthehow