Charlie Wyke opens up on that fan reception, his Sunderland frustration and getting back towards his best
The scenery could not have been more different, but the noise from the travelling support was loud and proud nevertheless.
1,500 had made the trup to Accrington Stanley, again exposed to the elements.
But they were treated to an outstanding away performance from their side and they duly responded.
In the second half particularly, the game was played out to a regular sound from the terrace just in front of the Lancashire hills.
‘Charlie Wyke, Charlie Wyke, Charlie Charlie Wyke......’
The 26-year-old has been superb, tenacious and with good quality in his play.
It was a significant boost to fans, manager and team-mates to see Wyke look as sharp as he has done since joining the club.
That Sunderland were able to play two up top and control the game away from home said everything about the way he fulfilled his target man duties.
There were signs of this, at the utrn of the year, when Wyke proved a hugely effective foil for Josh Maja away at Blackpool and Charlton Athletic.
Here he brought out the best in Will Grigg and that reception was something that will have meant a lot to the summer signing.
“Over the last few weeks there’s been no one more frustrated with me, to get that reception was fantastic and obviously it’s a big boost for my confidence,” he said.
“I was desperate to repay them with a goal but the win is more important.
“I thought they were fantastic tonight. After what happened in the final, they came out in their numbers and really got behind us.
“It was hard for the lads coming here on the back of how many minutes everyone played but it just shows you what a squad we’ve got.
“I think they’re a good team going forward and the conditions mean it’s a hard place to come, but I thought the lads the were excellent.”
All that was missing was the goal.
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In the second half, he could not have come much closer.
First, there was a superb turn away from his marker, firing just over the bar from inside the box.
Then, a fine header from an excellent Denver Hume that flashed just wide of the far post. Finally, a promising opening spurned as Wyke pulled into space on the break but fired over.
There is no doubt he is lacking sharpness and confidence in front of goal.
It has been a long and frustrating campaign for Wyke, but opportunity knocks in the final stretch.
“I think I went through on goal twice and got cramp twice!” he said.
“I trust in my ability. I’ve scored goals at every level I’ve played at in the last few seasons. I know it will come, it’s just the confidence not quite there at the moment but I’m getting closer every game.
“Obviously I’m not quite back to my best, but every time I play I just need to work hard,” he added. T
“There’s no one more frustrated than me with how this season has gone, the injuries, not playing too well, missing opportunities. But I just keep working hard, I’m an honest lad and that’s all I can do.”
Wyke was one of five players to come into the side and perform admirably.
It gives Ross some big and very welcome dilemmas ahead of a month in which Sunderland still have seven league fixtures to fulfil.
“All you can do is keep yourself ready and when you get a chance, try and take it,” Wyke said.
“I thought the lads who hadn’t been playing were brilliant tonight and the lads who did play in the final were excellent as well.
“The manager has been brilliant with everyone.
“It’s frustrating when you’re left out but he’s handled everyone fantastic and everyone is in the same boat, they want promotion and when lads come in and play like that, the manager has got some big decisions.”