Poyet challenges Wickham

Gus Poyet has called on Sunderland striker Connor Wickham to prove he is a Premier League striker and fire the club to safety.

Last Updated: 19/04/14 at 17:13 Post Comment

Connor Wickham: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet challenges the striker

Connor Wickham: Sunderland boss Gus Poyet challenges the striker

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Wickham scored his first Premier League goals since October 2011 in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City and will line up against title-chasing Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

With Steven Fletcher out injured and Fabio Borini, Jozy Altidore and Ignacio Scocco out of favour, the Sunderland boss is turning to the £8.1m signing from Ipswich to help the club avoid relegation.

He said: "For a player to come together at a very early age with that price-tag on his shoulders, everything needs to be good, and the most important part is that the team is performing well and has got the time to play and get used to him.

"It's a process, so who knows? Maybe the best thing for Connor is that the team is playing in the relegation battle and he is part of it.

"Maybe if we were playing for something else or Fletch was fit and scoring goals, maybe he wouldn't be playing. Sometimes, you have to take advantage of any situation."

Poyet has been impressed with Wickham's contribution but says there is only one meaningful currency in which frontmen deal and that is hitting the net.

He added: "For a striker, there is a limit. Some managers will give you five games, some managers 10, some managers 20, but at the end of the day, you need to score, so the main thing for Connor was to get in there and score a couple of goals.

"It was impressive for different reasons, one because we needed the goals, for sure, and secondly because it was away at Manchester City, which is not easy, and it was at the moment that we needed the goals.

"We all talk about players and confidence, and strikers, maybe they go 10, 15 games without scoring and then they score seven or eight in two weeks. I am looking forward to that."

Sunderland are six points away from Premier League safety with just five games left to play and the chances of them reducing the gap this weekend look remote with Chelsea unbeaten in the league at Stamford Bridge under manager Jose Mourinho in 77 attempts.

The Uruguayan said: "Who would have thought Sunderland are maybe going to decide the title one way or another? No-one, eh?

"We don't play for anyone apart from ourselves. It's going to be more of a shock if we beat Chelsea because they have never lost at home under Mourinho in the Premier League. If you think why Sunderland, people would ask why? We will see.

"The idea is to go and be brave, but not brave in terms of taking risks and being silly. The idea is to be brave playing the way we play, defending how we need to defend and trying to play our football. It doesn't just depend on what Chelsea are going to do."

Watch Chelsea take on Sunderland live from Stamford Bridge from 5.30pm this Saturday on Sky Sports 1

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew

I

m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

cozens
Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce

N

ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

timbo
Van Gaal will thrive - Ferguson

Footer 365

Premier League: Nemanja Matic says Chelsea can win quadruple

Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic insists the Blues can win the quadruple this season.

Ronald Koeman facing selection crisis ahead of Southampton's match against Everton

Harrison Reed's impressive display against Everton has given Ronald Koeman a selection dilemma.

Scottish Championship: SFA has reject Rangers' request to increase Mike Ashley's shareholding in club

The SFA has turned down a request from Rangers to allow Mike Ashley to increase his shareholding in the club to 29.9 per cent.

Mail Box

Van Gaal's Half-Term Report Card...

One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...

Hang On, Rafa's Success Is No Fluke...

The afternoon mailbox kicks the morning mailbox's arse after claims that Rafa Benitez has fluked his success. Plus, big talk about Liverpool's progress and lots more...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property