Stats: Connor Wickham is becoming a £12m problem for the club

Sunderland's Connor Wickham's form has been very disappointing throughout the season so far.

Last season Sunderland owed much to the form of Connor Wickham for keeping them in the Premier League, but he is rapidly becoming a £12 million problem for the club.

Much was made of the price-tag the Black Cats paid to sign Wickham from Ipswich Town, back in 2011, but he went some way to paying back that seemingly exorbitant fee last season.

However, this time around he is well off the pace and it is hard to say exactly why Gus Poyet is bothering to persist with him

In defence of Wickham he is playing in a more withdrawn position than he is used to, but his form is inexcusable and he is proving to be more of a hinderance to the side than a help.

Last night, despite Sunderland's win against Crystal Palace, Wickham was virtually anonymous before being subbed off late on.

  GoalsAssistsShotsDispossessedUnsuccessful TouchKeyPassesPassing AccuracyCrossing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Connor Wickham 0 0 1 1 4 0 72.7% 33.3% 1 78

It was a display which has summed up his campaign so far, and unless he starts to improve dramatically Poyet must start to think about taking him out of the first-team.

Sunderland's form has been poor over the opening of the season, so carrying passengers in their squad is something they can ill-afford to do.

The side need everybody in their team to contribute if they are to avoid a relegation struggle, but Wickham is not proving fit for purpose at the moment. 

  GoalsGoal AssistShots on targetDispossessedUnsuccessful TouchKey passesPassing AccuracyCrossing AccuracyAppearancesMins Played
Connor Wickham 1 1 18.1% 33 25 7 61.2% 20% 10 826

The striker has been dispossessed more than any other player in the Premier League and his first-touch has also been woeful throughout the campaign.

Arguably more worrying is the fact that he is offering hardly any threat to opposition defences at all.

Wickham has a goal and an assist in 10 appearances this season, and they were both in the same game, where Sunderland beat Stoke City 3-1. 

That was Wickham at his best, but in every other outing he has been woefully short of form.

The striker is hitting just over 18% of his shots on target, only 20% of his crosses are meeting a target and his passing accuracy - at 61% - is extremely poor. 

It is a run of form which is in danger of harming Sunderland's league position and the best thing for everyone involved may be to give Wickham a prolonged break from first-team action to allow somebody else the chance to step-up. 

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