SHEFFIELD Wednesday have not given up hope of re-signing Connor Wickham on loan, despite the Sunderland striker returning to Wearside.
Wickham played the final game of his month-long spell at Hillsborough on Saturday, and is now back training at the Academy of Light.
But Wednesday are yet to receive a definitive answer from Sunderland over whether Wickham will re-join the Championship outfit on a loan basis.
Owls boss Dave Jones is hoping Martin O’Neill will allow Wickham to remain on loan, but with the caveat of a 24-hour recall clause included in the deal.
But while O’Neill continues to consider that proposal, Sunderland’s defeat at QPR last weekend has reduced the chances of the £8m striker rejoining Wednesday.
O’Neill was forced to include five defenders on the bench at Loftus Road and threw midfielder David Vaughan and right-back Phil Bardsley into the fray as the Black Cats chased an equaliser.
A fourth loss in six could prompt O’Neill into a re-jig for Sunday’s crunch encounter against Norwich, with £5m January arrival Danny Graham potentially offering O’Neill an option as a substitute.
But the return of Wickham further increases O’Neill’s possibilities up front, in a game where Sunderland can ill-afford to register anything less than three points.
The 19-year-old is high on confidence too after netting in his final game for Wednesday last weekend, when he shrugged off a foot problem to grab the winner at Leicester – only his second goal at domestic level this season.
“I’m playing games here and really enjoying myself, and the gaffer has a lot of faith in me,” said Wickham earlier this week.
“I’ve played a lot of football since I’ve been here, and I’m thankful for that.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland youngster Callum Hope has joined Blue Square North outfit Workington Reds on a month’s loan.
The midfielder, in the second year of his apprenticeship at the Academy of Light, has made nine appearances for Sunderland’s Under-18s this season.