Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I've Got Nothing to Lose -Wickham; Wickham Is out to Take Cats Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I've Got Nothing to Lose -Wickham; Wickham Is out to Take Cats Chance

Article excerpt

CONNOR Wickham says he has "nothing to lose" after being given another chance to make the grade at Sunderland, writes STUART RAYNER.

It is nearly three years since the Black Cats paid more than PS8m for the then-18-year-old, however he still has only one Premier League goal to his name.

But an Achilles injury to Steven Fletcher earned the England Under-21 regular a reprieve which he is determined to make the most of. With no one yet established as the club's first-choice centre-forward, Wickham has a real chance to force his way back into coach Gustavo Poyet's plans.

"I've got nothing to lose," he said after coming off the bench against Southampton in the FA Cup on Saturday.

"I've not been playing (for Sunderland), so whatever time I get on the pitch I've just got to do what I'm told to do the best I can. That's what I tried to do on Saturday.

"I'm back from my loan and I've been involved a couple of times so whatever minutes I get on the pitch are about proving to the manager that I should be on from the start."

Sunderland are trying to manage Fletcher's injury, Jozy Altidore has only scored once this season and although Ignacio Scocco has clearly been signed to address the problem long term, the Argentinian's 68-minute appearance at the weekend was his first since November.

The FA Cup experiment with two up front was a welcome sign for Wickham, who looked lively in his cameo appearance from the bench, but was let down by poor decision-making. Wickham's willingness to shoot when passing was the better option, was in part a product of eight goals in 11 Sheffield Wednesday appearances. It has filled him with confidence that he can at last make his time at Sunderland a success. "The Premier League is better than any league in the world so if I can play here that's my main goal," he said. …

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