Print and go back ESPNsoccernet: England Soccernet Print

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Wearsiders hope for Wickham boost

Kristan Heneage

Sunderland are hoping to welcome back striker Connor Wickham for this Sunday's Premier League clash with Southampton.

• Johnson: Confidence raised
• Blog: Sunderland test nerves

Wickham, 20, has been sidelined with a calf strain he picked up in Paolo Di Canio's first game in charge, away at Chelsea.

However it seems as if the young forward will earn a temporary reprieve from his injury curse. According to the Sunderland Echo, Wickham has responded well to treatment this week, and is believed to have an outside chance of making Sunday's game against the Saints.

Di Canio has been forced to work with a threadbare squad during his short career at the Stadium of Light, as both injuries and suspensions have mounted up.

He has seen his forward options dwindle as first Steven Fletcher was ruled out for the season with an ankle injury, before Stephane Sessegnon picked up a red card against Aston Villa.

Although Wickham has scored just once this season for the club, his Premier League experience places him well above the club's other options in attack. 18-year-old Mikael Mandron made his professional debut against Aston Villa last week, and was named on the bench for the fourth time against Stoke City on Monday.

However at such a young age, Di Canio is wary of plunging the striker into consistent first team action. Also forced to play without Craig Gardner who ended his season by being sent off against Stoke, the Wearsiders will likely bring in Wales midfielder David Vaughan, with Jack Colback asked to inhabit the vacant right-back position.

Danny Rose will also make the final appearance of his loan spell at the club, as he is ineligible to face parent club Tottenham Hotspur on the final day of the season. There was some better news for the club, however, as Sebastian Larsson is expected to be fit for Sunday's game despite being forced off late on Monday.

ESPNsoccernet: Help | Media Kit | Contact Us | Site Map | Tools | Jobs at ESPN | Supplier Information | Copyright ©2014 ESPN Internet Ventures.
Terms of Use (Updated 5/6/08), and Privacy Policy and Safety Information/Your California Privacy Rights are applicable to you. All rights reserved.