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In-Demand Wickham Has Sunderland Future - For Now

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The highly-rated youngster won't be returning to the Championship on loan, for a little while at least.

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Connor Wickham has 'plenty of admirers' but will be part of Sunderland's first team squad for now.

The England under-21 striker enjoyed a prolific loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday this season, and that form has seen his reputation swell and something of a scramble for his services develop.

But Gus Poyet wants to keep him at Sunderland, at least for now, and believes he can make an impact if needed. He told the Sunderland Echo:

Connor has got plenty of admirers, you can't imagine how many.

But he wasn't going anywhere on loan before the transfer deadline.

He's part of the squad and he's done very well at Sheffield. That's why he's got so many options.

But at the same time, he's our player.

He's been on the bench for the last two games and he would have come on against Stoke, if Phil Bardsley hadn't got injured, which changed my plans.

The decision at the moment is that he's our player and we need him here.

With Steven Fletcher struggling with injury, Jozy Altidore not scoring, and Nacho Scocco a total unknown quantity, it's very wise indeed to keep Wickham around the squad.

More than that, though, there is a bigger picture to examine. Sunderland made a big investment in Wickham and come the summer he will have one year left on his deal. Poyet needs time to work with him and assess him to make a decision on his future.

Speaking personally, I'd love to see the club really work on his development from here on in. Time to make that investment start paying dividends.