Connor Wickham selects two members of Sunderland's squad who are 'great players'

Sunderland striker Connor Wickham has praised his strike rivals at the club.

Sunderland's Connor Wickham has told BBC Sport that his strike partners Jermain Defoe and Steven Fletcher are 'great players'.

The Black Cats have struggled for goals this season, but Wickham doesn't believe that it is due to a lack of quality up front.

The 22-year-old believes that his competitors for the striking berths at the Stadium of Light are both very talented players and he is pleased to be playing alongside them at the moment.

"They're important games and we need everyone to play a part, but I want to play football and I've got two great players around me in Steven Fletcher and Jermain Defoe," he said.

Since Dick Advocaat has taken charge, he has devised a system which keeps Wickham, Fletcher and Defoe all on the pitch.

The Dutchman has been desperate to increase the Black Cats' attacking threat and he clearly feels that the best way to do that is to keep their three most natural goalscorers on the pitch. 

It seems to have worked so far, with Sunderland's performances against West Ham United and Newcastle United providing encouragement, and Advocaat will be hoping that the trio work even better in tandem as they become more familiar with their roles. 

They will have a chance to show what they can do against Crystal Palace this weekend, with Sunderland desperate to build on the momentum they have created from the derby win. 

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