Wickham provides platform for Wednesday to stage revival

Connor Wickham
Connor Wickham
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Connor Wickham hopes his two-goal salvo will help build a platform for managerless Sheffield Wednesday to build on in December.

It looked like being a familiar story for the Owls against table-topping Leicester as a goal inside the opening two minutes on Tuesday had the alarm bells ringing at Hillsborough.

But two pieces of individual skill saw Wickham orchestrate the Owls’ fightback and cancel out Anthony Knockaert’s opener.

It was only Wednesday’s second win of the season and came just 48 hours after Dave Jones was sacked.

Now Wickham hopes the Owls can use Tuesday’s win as a platform to stage a revival in December, Leicester being the first of seven games this month.

“I think this needs to be a platform,” he said. “We have loads of games coming up in the next six weeks, games where we can pick up points – we have a game in hand as well.

“Stuart (Gray) didn’t really have much time to change it, we only had 48 hours. The lads are all professionals, we worked hard in training, and we gave a performance. Now we need to keep working and move on to Saturday.

“We are more than well equipped to survive. You have seen against Reading and Leicester that when we turn it on, we really turn it on.

“Leicester are top of the league and flying, so it shows when we play we can beat anyone no matter where they are in the league.”

Wickham has scored four goals in five games since his return to S6, and also scored twice in the League Cup for the Black Cats to take his season’s tally to six.

He said: “That’s what I came to do, do my best, score goals and get games.

“I have started and finished every game since I came, so I am feeling strong.

“Goals are coming and we have a good set of lads. There’s good quality in the dressing room, we just have to learn to do it for the 90 minutes, like we did (against Leicester) and against Reading. We are a good team.”

The one fear for the Owls is Wickham’s goals will alert Sunderland, languishing in the Premier League, and he will return to the North East when his loan expires on January 1.

The Owls – who have just one other recognised striker in Atdhe Nuhiu at the club – have already lost Matty Fryatt after his loan ended and he returned to Hull City.

Nevertheless, caretaker boss Gray was delighted with Wickham, and believes he has ‘come of age’ this year.

“Connor took his goals fantastically well,” said Gray. “We had Connor last season from Sunderland on loan – we are grateful they allowed him to come back.

“He is a man now. He went from a boy last season, to a man this season. He looks fitter, stronger, hungry for goals. His ball retention, he was a focal point for us up front.

“He is not our player, so obviously we run the risk of him being called back by Sunderland.

“But he is better playing football rather than being sat on a bench.

“That’s a problem when you have loan these players. So fingers crossed, we are hoping that Sunderland don’t see the scoresheet.”