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Wickham has a point to prove
CONNOR WICKHAM will be handed another chance to revive his Sunderland career on Monday night and assistant manager Charlie Oatway revealed the striker has shown a desire to prove he can succeed in the Premier League.
With the Black Cats struggling to get out of the bottom three with nine games remaining, Poyet made the decision to recall Wickham from a loan spell at Leeds United despite having never played the 20-year-old since taking over.
He gave the former Ipswich Town man a chance to impress in Wednesday night’s defeat at Liverpool and Poyet is likely to hand the youngster another opportunity when West Ham visit the Stadium of Light on Monday night.
With Steven Fletcher still out and Jozy Altidore struggling to find form, Wickham has been identified as someone who could provide a spark for the Wearsiders having found some scoring form while out on loan.
Poyet missed yesterday’s pre-match press conference because of an appointment with a specialist for a long-standing knee problem and Oatway, who stood in for the manager, admits Wickham has come back demonstrated the right attitude despite his lack of opportunities this season.
“We've been here for five or six months and in that time you build relationships with individuals,” Oatway said.
“Sometimes you don't have the timescale to be able to do that, If he needs a little bit of faith or an arm around him, we haven't got time for that. It's not about Connor, it's about us and making sure that our club stays up.
“It would be nice for him to have a run of form. If he can get a feel for how Gus wants to play, then that would be good but there's not a lot of time for him to do that.
“He did himself proud against Liverpool and he's put himself back in contention for the next game.
“He's been out on loan and he needs to take a pat on the back for that. He didn't sit here and pick up his money, he went out to play games, he asked to go out.
“We've called him back because we needed to. He had no problem with coming back and that's what you want from a player.
“He's gone away and scored goals, especially at Sheffield Wednesday. He's a quiet lad and goes about his work and you have no issues with him.
“We called him back because hopefully he can give us something and if he can nick a goal or two that would be fantastic. He's come back and gone straight back into the side. He's trained well and we've had no issues with him.”
Sunderland face a West Ham side that more or less secured their safety with a midweek home win over Hull City.
Hammers boss Sam Allardyce was booed by his own fans despite the crucial result, though, and Oatway, who hails from London, believes the treatment he received was harsh.
He said: “It's a strange one, I'm a London lad and I've grown up watching all the London sides. West Ham always had that free-flowing nature to them, they always had good players and created plenty during a game. But Big Sam has a different way of playing and maybe they're not getting that.
“I'm a football fan, and sometimes you want your cake and to eat it. You want to get out of trouble, but you don't want to play that certain way. I think it's a bit harsh on Sam. They got the result, and that's what they needed. That win got them virtually out of trouble.”