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

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

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

2 years free Sky Broadband Unlimited for Sky Sports customers

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

R

icky van Wolfswinkel's remarkable record of one goal from one game at least deserves an honourable mention. And I'm willing to bet that at least one of Costa, Ulloa or Enner Valencia will earn a place on the list by the end of the season. Probably not Costa

stevenjameshyde
Top Ten PL Strikers Who Started Like A Train...

I

will also give up birthday Christmas and bacon for this to happen

badwolf
Ronaldo return ‘in place’

P

lease let this happen. I'll have it as a birthday AND Christmas present if that will help.

de gea bar
Ronaldo return ‘in place’

Footer 365

Daley Blind backs Louis van Gaal's brutally honest approach at Manchester United

Daley Blind says Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal's brutally honest manner is good for team-building.

Premier League: West Ham come from behind twice at Hull City to earn 2-2 draw

West Ham twice came from behind to earn a battling 2-2 draw with Hull City in an entertaining clash at the KC Stadium.

Champions League: 'Arsenal have made some good signings', says Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp believes Arsenal made a number of strong summer signings and expects them to be tough opponents on Tuesday.

Mail Box

Forget it, Ronaldo Won't Come Back

A varied morning mailbox, with thoughts on Ronaldo, Daley Blind = Michael Carrick, Ed Woodward redemption, stick with Pardew, QPR's name change and marbles...

Woke Up This Morning Feeling Fine...

Man United fans are a more than a tad excited, Liverpool fans are a little depressed and we have mails on Mesut Ozil, Newcastle, Aston Villa and lots more...

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