Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has expressed his delight at Connor Wickham's form, even though he has played out of position for much of this season.
Wickham has been given a role out on the left-hand side of the pitch, rather than as a centre-forward, and Poyet says that his good form there has been a surprise boost.
The Uruguayan manager is said to be targeting bringing in a specialist left-winger in January, but he insists that this is no reflection on Wickham's displays.
“He linked very well with Steven Fletcher in pre-season and they’ve been giving us some presence."
Wickham has just one league goal to his name this season and he has come under criticism from certain sections of the Sunderland crowd.
Despite Poyet's words of praise, it has been evident that Wickham has not felt entirely comfortable in a more peripheral position.
The England youth international was expected to play a key role for the side after he performed heroics to keep them up last season, but his form has not been of the same standard so far.
His future is still in the balance at the Stadium of Light with his contract expiring at the end of the season and little progress being made towards agreeing a new deal.
Although Sunderland are said to be keen on keeping the front-man, he is stalling over signing any agreement and this is a distraction that the side could do without.
The Black Cats appear to be one of the teams in danger of being embroiled in a relegation fight this season, but they have improved of late and will be hoping to continue putting distance between themselves and the bottom three after the international break.