GUS Poyet has recalled Connor Wickham from his loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday but the young striker’s immediate future remains up in the air.
The 20-year-old could be thrown into Sunderland’s Premier League survival battle, he could be sold permanently, he could be loaned out to another club or he could even be loaned back to Wednesday on an emergency loan, which would allow the Black Cats to recall him any time after his first 28 days.
But the timing of the recall is almost certainly significant – Wickham being brought back two days before his loan spell was due to expire and, more importantly, before the Owls game against Millwall tomorrow night.
If Sunderland were prepared to let Wickham stay at Hillsborough or loan him out to another club, the likelihood is they would have no problem with him playing at the the Den.
More likely then, is the prospect he will be brought back into the Sunderland squad, or sold outright – with the most likely option being the former, rather than the latter.
The England Under 21 striker has been a massive hit at Wednesday, scoring eight goals in 12 league games which have helped keep the Yorkshire club out of the Championship’s bottom three.
Nottingham Forest have been linked with a permanent move for a player who did not make the impact expected following his £8m move from Ipswich Town in 2011.
But Poyet admires how the powerful young forward has seized his loan opportunity: “He has done well, very well and I have a decision to make,” the head coach told SportMail last week.
And with Jozy Altidore enduring an abysmal goal drought and struggling for form generally, Poyet might well decide the busy, physical Wickham is an asset that goal-shy Sunderland can ill-afford to ignore.