CONNOR Wickham has joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan until the end of the year.
It is the second time the 20-year-old has had a spell at Hillsborough, having spent a month there last season making six appearances and scoring one goal before being recalled early.
The England Under 21 has joined in time to be involved in Wednesday’s game against promotion-chasing Reading this weekend if he is needed.
The agreement to join the Championship’s bottom side has disappointed league leaders Burnley who had thought, earlier in the week they were in pole position.
The Echo revealed Burnley’s hopes of beating a posse of Championship rivals to the big striker’s signature.
But we also pointed out that – critically as it turned out – the Black Cats had to make a decision on whether or not Wickham would get enough game time at Turf Moor.
Leading strikers Danny Ings and Sam Vokes had started every one of the Clarets’ 13 Championship games this season, with Ings having scored nine goals and Vokes eight – the sort of form which meant Burnley’s only other out-and-out striker, ex-Black Cat Ryan Noble, had not had a look-in so far this season.
That swung things in favour of Sheffield Wednesday, where Wickham can expect to be heavily involved in the weeks ahead.
The striker has been involved in seven Sunderland’s games this season but has started only one – the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace in August.
Other than that, he has been used as a late substitute in the other six games except the Capital One Cup tie against MK Dons when he came on five minutes into the second half and scored twice to inspire Sunderland to a 4-2 win.
He has played a couple of non-first-team games in recent weeks.
But the club has decided that, with Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher having impressed recently and derby hero Fabio Borini showing good form, the time has come to allow Wickham to play first-team football elsewhere so that he can get fully match fit and potentially help Sunderland in the second half of the season.
Meanwhile, two of Sunderland’s Development Squad players have also completed loan moves.
Promising winger Adam Mitchell has joined Skrill North side Harrogate Town on a youth loan until November 30.
The youngster could make his debut for Simon Weaver’s side when Oxford United travel to the CNG Stadium this weekend.
The 20-year-old has made one first team appearance for the Black Cats – coming on in the final game of last season away to Spurs.
Defender Liam Marrs has also moved to the Skrill North, joining Boston United on an emergency loan till the end of the year.
The tenacious 20-year-old full-back could make his debut for the Pilgrims when they head to Brackley Town this weekend.
Cramlington-born Marrs has been at Sunderland since the age of 12 and has made eight appearances for the development squad this season.