CONNOR WICKHAM has held talks with Gus Poyet to boost his chances of playing more than a bit-part role with Sunderland.
Wickham netted eight goals in 11 games during a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday and was happy to remain in the Championship after being given the chance to play regular first-team football.
But with injury worries over Steven Fletcher, Poyet was forced to recall Wickham last month and the England Under-21 striker has appeared from the bench in each of the last two games.
The 20-year-old is not content to be confined to the fringes though and has spoken with head coach Poyet over what he needs to do to force his way into the starting XI.
“I’ve spoken to the manager and he’s just said I’m in his plans and told me what I need to do,” said Wickham.
“I’ve gone in and asked what I need to do to get into the team because I don’t want to just be sitting on the bench.
“I’ve just come back from a loan spell so I’m sharp and ready. I can’t wait to get on to the pitch and prove my worth here.
“The Premier League is better than any league in the world, so if I can play here, that’s my main goal. But it’s down to the manager whether I’m going to be involved in the games or not.
“Hopefully, if I’m not, I can go back out on loan. That’s yet to be decided, but I’m here now so my main focus is getting into the team.”
Wickham has started just nine Premier League games during his two-and-a-half years on Wearside after ex-Sunderland boss Steve Bruce splashed out £8million on the then Ipswich Town frontman.
And with Wickham’s contract expiring at the end of next season, he is eager to prove himself with the Black Cats.
“I believe I can be a success here,” he added.
“I don’t feel the pressure of expectations. It’s not my fault that the clubs agreed the fee of whatever it was.
“I made the move and I’ve not played as much football as I would have liked so it’s down to me to work hard on the training pitch.
“I’m 21 next month so I’ve still got plenty of time in football ahead of me hopefully.
“I’ve still got a year-and-a-half here, so my main aim is to get into this team, push it forward and get us away from the bottom of the league.
“I’ve got nothing to lose. I’ve not been playing, so whatever time I get on the pitch, I’ve just got to do what I’m told the best I can.”