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Thursday, November 15, 2012
Wickham in line for loan move

Kristan Heneage

Sunderland's Connor Wickham is being targeted for a loan move by several Championship clubs as the striker looks to get some much-needed playing time.

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Wickham joined Sunderland in 2011 at a cost of 8 million, but has struggled to secure regular playing time, amid competition from Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha.

Former club Ipswich Town had been credited with an interest in loaning the striker along with Wolverhampton Wanderers, but it now seems Sheffield Wednesday are emerging as favourites to land the 19-year-old.

However, any potential deal will require approval from manager Martin O'Neill, who has been unwilling to lose another body from his already stretched squad.

Sunderland are also keen for Wednesday to cover 50% of Wickham's weekly wage - which is understood to be in excess of 20,000-per-week, and is something the Owls are struggling to do.

With the majority of Wickham's playing time this season coming for Sunderland's development squad and the England Under-21s, he has been keen to take his chances at international level - notching his third goal in four game for Stuart Pearce's side against Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

"It's important for me to score. I had quite a few chances on Tuesday and luckily one went in," Wickham said. "It's just down to me to prove to the manager that I can stake a claim in the team and keep my performances going and scoring goals."

Although manager Stuart Pearce concedes Wickham is not playing at club level, the England Under-21s manager was keen to note the positive demeanour Wickham has been displaying amongst the camp.

He said: "He did well at Ipswich and got his move and then it has been a little bit start-stop for him at Sunderland. I always draw a comparison with Theo Walcott moving from Southampton to Arsenal.

"He is not playing regularly and we need to make sure we supplement his confidence and fitness and we get to see his ability on occasions at under-21 level. I think he showed that on Tuesday night and he looks as though he is enjoying himself out there. I see his demeanour around the place and he is enjoying meeting up with us."

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