There was no danger of Charlie Wyke losing the credit for his debut Sunderland goal and little wonder.
It has been a long journey to scoring at the Stadium of Light, in the short-term as he battled back from a frustrating injury and in the long-term as he has fought his way back from not making the cut as a youngster at Middlesbrough.
Wyke had been one of Sunderland’s top targets this summer but the move was delayed when he picked up a knock playing for Bradford in pre-season and the striker admits he is six or seven weeks behind his team-mates.
He hopes, however, to play in the Checkatrade Trophy against Stoke City U23’s tomorrow night and continue making up for lost time.
“It was a brilliant start for me,” he said. “It’s a shame we didn’t get the win but we got the point and we are still unbeaten. I was desperate to get on the pitch and now I am looking forward to starting and hopefully getting more.
“I am not one for scoring many outside the box, I think I only have two or three in the last few years, so it is definitely about trying to be alive in the box and I do like a tap-in. Thankfully I got on the end of it, there’s been a few questions asked if I got a touch but I definitely did.
“It was definitely mine and hope it continues.
“It has been frustrating for me to finish last season, then get injured in pre-season with Bradford. I am about six or seven weeks behind the lads, it will take hard work and graft to get up to speed so hopefully that will come in next few weeks.
“The way the game went, with the red card, the manager didn’t want to play me for 45 minutes when the weather was that hot. It was a hard game but to score is good for me.
“Hopefully I will play the full game on Tuesday. I need to build up my fitness now. I will be pushing the gaffer to try to get a start and 90 minutes now.”
Wyke feared for his professional career when he left Middlesbrough but he has now established himself as one of the nest strikers in the division and hopes to power Sunderland’s promotion charge.
“Obviously I got released from Middlesbrough which was frustrating, I didn’t think there was a future for me in football at the time,” he said.
“I went away, worked hard and started to work my way up the leagues. This is obviously a huge club and hopefully we can get this club doing the same again, to get it back where it shuold be.
“I went to Kettering when I was 18 and that was a real eye-opener. I came back and the next thing I went to Hartlepool, that was the same because we were struggling in League One and we were relegated. I think when you do stuff like that it does help you. Hopefully there are no more relegations on the cards and I just want to focus on here and push on.
“I have worked hard to get to a ground I can call home like this since those early days.
“There are times when I wondered if I would really make it as a professional footballer, when I was released, then Hartlepool, I didn’t see myself really being able to get to play at stadiums like this. Now I am here, scoring, and hopefully I will keep my place and keep scoring.”