Sunderland ace Connor Wickham set for Wednesday bow

SHEFFIELD Wednesday beat off competition from Hull and Huddersfield to sign Sunderland striker Connor Wickham on loan.

The Owls yesterday landed Wickham on loan for a month, with the 19-year-old in the squad for today’s Championship encounter against Derby County.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill fielded several enquiries about Wickham before the Football League emergency loan window opened on Thursday.

Managerless Huddersfield, along with ex-Black Cats boss Steve Bruce now at Hull – who signed Wickham for £8m 18 months ago – were both interested in landing the England Under-21 international.

But Wednesday have all-but-guaranteed that Wickham will start games for the Owls – even if he is on the bench today – and that proved decisive.

Owls boss Dave Jones has been using winger Michail Antonio as a makeshift partner for on-loan Leroy Lita, but Wickham is expected to provide a more orthodox foil.

Wednesday have been tracking Wickham for several months and Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill had considered allowing the England Under-21 international to join the Owls last November.

O’Neill opted against it back then, but after the £5m deadline day capture of Danny Graham, he believes it is an opportune moment for Wickham to play first-team football.

O’Neill is taking a risk if Graham, Steven Fletcher or Stephane Sessegnon are hit by injuries or suspension, particularly after offloading Fraizer Campbell, Ji Dong-won and Louis Saha last month.

Sunderland would not be able to recall Wickham for 28 days, although if the Black Cats agree to extend the loan, they could bring him back instantly.

the former Ipswich Town forward back to Wearside.