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Striker Keen To Prove His Worth

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Connor Wickham is eager to prove to Gus Poyet that he can be a success with Sunderland.

Chris Brunskill

Connor Wickham has had a stop-start Sunderland career so far, with the 20-year-old only starting nine games for the Black Cats (5 of which came in his first few months at the club), but the striker is hoping to make an impression on Gus Poyet and prove to him that he's worth a place in the side;

I've spoken to the manager and he's just said I'm in his plans and told me what I need to do. I've gone in and asked what I need to do to get into the team because I don't want to just be sitting on the bench.

I've just come back from a loan spell so I'm sharp and ready. I can't wait to get on to the pitch and prove my worth here.

The Premier League is better than any league in the world, so if I can play here, that's my main goal. But it's down to the manager whether I'm going to be involved in the games or not.

Hopefully, if I'm not, I can go back out on loan. That's yet to be decided, but I'm here now so my main focus is getting into the team.

With the England under-21 international's contract expiring at the end of the 2014/15 season, Wickham still believes he can be a success at Sunderland and is not fazed by the expectations his £8m transfer from Ipswich created;

I believe I can be a success here, I don't feel the pressure of expectations. It's not my fault that the clubs agreed the fee of whatever it was.

I made the move and I've not played as much football as I would have liked so it's down to me to work hard on the training pitch.

I'm 21 next month so I've still got plenty of time in football ahead of me hopefully.

I've still got a year-and-a-half here, so my main aim is to get into this team, push it forward and get us away from the bottom of the league.

I've got nothing to lose. I've not been playing, so whatever time I get on the pitch, I've just got to do what I'm told the best I can.

After being recalled in January from a successful loan spell with Sheffield Wednesday, in which he scored eight goals in 11 games for the Championship side, Wickham has only featured in two games for Sunderland, in the 2-0 home defeat to Hull City and the 1-0 FA Cup quarter final victory over Southampton, both as a substitute.

Despite being guilty of not playing in better placed team-mates in the win over Southampton, although he can perhaps be forgiven slightly considering the goalscoring form he had been in for Sheffield Wednesday, Wickham impressed when he came on as substitute in the FA Cup win when he troubled the visiting defence from the moment he entered the field of play.

Poyet was impressed with the team's shape at the weekend after starting Nacho Scocco and Fabio Borini together up front and with the head coach toying with the idea of using two strikers on a more regular basis, and Wickham also able to play in a wider position, he may yet get a chance to stake his claim in the side, particularly with the form, injury and fitness concerns over Jozy Altidore, Steven Fletcher and Nacho Scocco respectively.