Connor Wickham believes his loan stay at Sheffield Wednesday could be the catalyst to becoming a regular starter at parent club Sunderland.
Wickham, 19, joined the Black Cats from Ipswich in 2011 for an initial fee of £8.1 million. Struggling for first team opportunities due to the impressive form of Steven Fletcher, Wickham has made just one start for Sunderland this season. Joining Wednesday on a youth loan deal, the England Under-21 international is hoping to prove his worth to Martin O'Neill.
"I've settled right in. I think it will be a big step in my career and something I can learn from," he said. "The manager at Sunderland was happy for me to come and get games and experience. Not getting enough game time there was a big part in me coming here.
"I spoke to the manager [Dave Jones]. He told me everything I needed to hear. That was basically it. My mind was made up. I wanted to come. It's a massive club, there's a good manager, a good team ethic and they're going forward, so hopefully I can be part of the team.
"I just want games and to gain experience from being here. A few goals would help to get the team up the table. Maybe there are a lot of expectations, which hopefully I'll live up to. I'm confident I can do that."
Wickham was a first-half substitute during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Derby which saw Wednesday fight back from two goals down to salvage a point.
"I was eager to get playing," he said. "To come in and go on after half an hour, I was a bit surprised. But the manager gave me the nod, Whenever he does that, I'm ready.
"I was warm and excited to get going. I think I did well. Going 2-0 down is not ideal but the boys showed a lot of character and determination to get back in the game, and we did it very well. The manager just said 'go on and show what you can do, don't feel any pressure' which I didn't. I went on with no fear."