Sunderland star to banish memory of Ipswich thrashing

Sunderland's Connor Wickham
Sunderland's Connor Wickham

CONNOR Wickham is determined to banish the memory of his own 5-1 derby horror show on his return to East Anglia.

The Sunderland striker was in the Ipswich side thrashed by arch-rivals Norwich City by that score last season as the Canaries secured a return to the Premier League after a six-year absence.

Wickham has since experienced further derby agony after an appearance as a late substitute in Sunderland’s Wear-Tyne derby defeat last month.

But the £8million summer signing hopes to have the last laugh when Sunderland head to Norwich City on Monday night, in what promises to be a hostile reception for the 18-year-old.

Wickham said: “Playing against Norwich on Monday will be tough.

“I played against them last season and we got beat 5-1, so I’ll be going there looking to get some revenge.

“The derby here is much more intense than Norwich-Ipswich. But to be part of any derby is great, the buzz you get livens you up and you think ‘I’m really up for this game now’.

“I want to go back there and hurt them.

“You’re going to get stick, but that’s football. I want to make the fans go quiet.

“Ipswich is a great club and they taught me everything I know. I was there since I was 11 years old.

“What they did for me was brilliant, but I’ve moved on. I’m in the Premier League now and I’ve got to show what I can do.”

Wickham is yet to start for the Black Cats, with boss Steve Bruce pledging to gently ease the frontman and fellow rookie Ji Dong-won into life in the Premier League.

The England U21 striker admits it is “frustrating” to bide his time on the bench after joining Sunderland to play regular top flight football -– something he wasn’t expected to achieve if he had moved to fellow suitors Liverpool or Spurs.

But the teenager, still to break his Sunderland duck, knows he must make the most of his substitute appearances if he is to force his way into the starting XI.

He added: “It’s been quite frustrating when we’ve not been doing well and I’ve wanted to go on earlier and show what I’m capable of.

“But I’ve just got to do the best I can in the time I get on the pitch.

“Hopefully I do enough in that 15 or 20 minutes to show I’m capable of doing what I’ve done at Ipswich.

“Every day in training and every game, you need to do your best and if you do that, it builds your confidence.

“I’m high in confidence at the moment and that’s key for any footballer.

“Let’s hope I get my time on the pitch and the goals start coming soon.”​