The most predictable thing about last week’s game against Crystal Palace, apart from the fact that we blew the chance to get three points, was that Connor Wickham came back to haunt us.
I don’t think Wickham was handled well throughout his time at Sunderland; being left out of the team or stuck on the bench more often than actually starting games.
The one time he did get a regular run in his best position leading the attack, was in Gus Poyet’s team that defied logic to stay up.
Wickham didn’t just play his part in that great run, he had a starring role as the focal point of the attack; holding the ball up and weighing in with his share of goals.
It looked like we had a young, English player with real potential, who was only going to get better.
So what happened at the start of the next season? He started the first game at West Brom wide on the left and continued in that role for far too long, which never suited him.
Even right at the start of his Sunderland career, there were some baffling decisions.
Steve Bruce was obviously going to blood him slowly in Premier League games, but when drawn away to Brighton in the League Cup (the perfect opportunity for Wickham’s debut) Stephane Sessegnon led the line instead.
The irony is that he’s exactly the type of player that Sam Allardyce likes in his teams and I can’t see any way that if he was boss at the time Wickham left, he’d have sanctioned the move.
Sunderland’s squad is full of players who like to play alongside or around a targetman – Jermain Defoe, Fabio Borini, Wahbi Khazri, Jeremain Lens and Duncan Watmore all fall into that category.
But we’ve no big frontman in the squad and come the summer, that’s the type of player that will be top of Allardyce’s wish-list.