Poyet eager to get Wickham back into central striking role for Sunderland

Sunderland striker Connor Wickham
Sunderland striker Connor Wickham
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GUS POYET has reiterated that he wants to restore Connor Wickham to a central striker role.

Wickham returned to the Sunderland starting line-up in yesterday’s 0-0 Premier League draw at Aston Villa after serving a one-match ban, but was again predominantly used on the left flank, until moving inside to partner Steven Fletcher during the finale.

Despite netting five goals in four games during last season’s remarkable escape from the drop, Wickham has mainly been used in a wide role this year after Sunderland were unable to re-sign Fabio Borini.

But Poyet wants to ultimately use Wickham in a central role after the £8million former Ipswich Town frontman penned a new contract at the Stadium of Light earlier this month.

Poyet said: “I hope it is short term. I think he is giving us a tremendous hand playing in there.

“We know how to play the game 4-3-3, and, at the same time, we need someone who can get into the box a lot.

“Naturally, last year, Borini was perfect for that position.

“We didn’t find that player in the market, and we tried with Connor in the summer and he liked it, and adapted to that and did well.

“Of course, it takes something from him, but he is finding chances to take shots as well.

“I would like him to play up front as well, but these are decisions I need to make.”

Sunderland’s focus in the January transfer window will be on boosting their attacking options, with the Black Cats continuing to be linked with a loan move for Chelsea wideman Mohamed Salah.

Twitter @YoungSunEcho