Sunderland’s Wickham eyes goals to complement progress

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham
Have your say

CONNOR Wickham is eager to profit from Sunderland’s improved supply lines and complement his progress with goals.

Wickham again impressed in Sunderland’s 3-1 defeat at Manchester United on Saturday after being introduced as a half-time substitute for the injured Steven Fletcher.

The 19-year-old was dropped from the starting line-up for Sunderland’s victory over Reading last midweek.

But Wickham has showcased his significant improvement in each of his three outings for Sunderland this month, with only a smart late save from United stopper David De Gea denying the £8million striker.

A second goal in Sunderland colours continues to elude Wickham, but he was not the only one to enjoy an opportunity in the closing stages, and the England Under-21 frontman believes Sunderland must take heart from the chances they are creating.

“For me coming on at the start of the second half, I knew I had to do all I could to at least try to get us back in the game,” said Wickham.

“I thought I did quite well and it was a better performance in the second half.

“I always aim to get in the box and create chances, and I think we do create quite a few chances in games as a team.

“It’s just about getting enough people in the box to try to finish them off.

“We know we could have reduced the deficit further – we had chances and could have buried them.”

That late finale ultimately came too little, too late for Sunderland after they paid the price for defensive lapses during a first half where the hosts were admittedly rampant.

But, after a half-time rollicking from Martin O’Neill, Sunderland were improved in the second half when they could easily have folded after conceding a third before the hour mark.

“The boys knew we didn’t perform well in the first half and we had to pick ourselves up,” added Wickham on the club’s website.

“The manager made his thoughts clear at half-time and we knew what we needed to do.

“The first half was not up to scratch, but the second was obviously an improvement.”