manager Stuart Gray remains confident that Connor Wickham will return for a third stint at Sheffield Wednesday despite Sunderland recalling him two days before his second loan spell was due to expire.
The Owls’ head coach had been planning to field him in his side’s 1-1 draw at Millwall, only for a phone call around Tuesday lunchtime to scupper his hopes.
Wickham is now waiting to see if he has an immediate future at the Stadium of Light or if the situation proves otherwise.
For their part, Wednesday are hopeful of taking Wickham back to Hillsborough again when the emergency loan market opens next month if he is not brought back into the Sunderland squad, although Nottingham Forest have been linked with a permanent move for the striker.
On whether he believes Wickham, who fired eight goals in an impressive 11-match second loan spell at Hillsborough, could return, Gray said: “Very much so. It’s a case of being in dialogue with Gus (Poyet) and Sunderland and Connor wants to come back as well.
“He was hugely disappointed he had to go back (before the Millwall game). It certainly was a bolt out of the blue because we were going out to training and we get a phone call saying there was some technicality and they had to call back Connor at 12noon.
“It was a huge disappointment. But fingers crossed we can get him back. Although the players did show they were not a one-man team at Millwall.”
The Owls extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to nine games in a fiery encounter at The Den, where both sides ended the game with 10 men.
Giles Coke’s 69th-minute opener was cancelled out by DJ Campbell’s goal 10 minutes from time, with the Owls’ scorer then blotting his copybook in the 87th minute when he was sent off along with Lions defender Shane Lowry following a melee.
A feisty spectacle also saw a plastic bottle thrown by home fans at Chris Kirkland.
Gray said: “Giles is upset because he scored a goal and then he let the team down by his reaction.
“Sometimes you have to say, ‘Hang on a minute, just walk away’.”