Sheffield Wednesday: Fear of Wickham exit grows

Connor Wickham has scored five goals in his last seven games
Connor Wickham has scored five goals in his last seven games

Nottingham Forest’s interest in Connor Wickham justifies Stuart Gray’s earlier fears that the Owls could lose him soon.

Forest are understood to be pondering a loan deal for the striker with a view to buying him.

Sunderland boss Gus Poyet is on record as saying that the player’s future will be discussed after his Hillsborough loan ends with the Blackpool home game on January 1.

Although Wednesday would like to extend his stay they have been well aware that his form, fitness and goal-scoring could attract competition in the January window.

It was a similar situation when Ben Marshall starred while with the Owls on loan from Stoke and became a magnet for other clubs, which resulted in him making a £1m January move to Leicester.

Wickham cost Sunderland an £8m transfer fee when they signed him as a 17-year-old from Ipswich two and a half years ago.

It seems likely he would be out of the Owls’ range in terms of a fee and his wages if the Black Cats can see a more profitable option. Forest are backed by wealthy owner Fawaz Al Hasawi

Gray has also been worried that Sunderland could recall the 20-year-old before his loan is up, in view of his form - he has scored five goals in his last seven games, including a superb free-kick winner at Watford last Saturday.

The Owls caretaker manager said earlier this week: “Connor is benefiting from getting league experience and playing week in, week out.

“What Sunderland have also done is put him in the shop window for other clubs to look at and, subject to what the fee is going to be, is there an opportunity for Sunderland to sell him? He’s enjoying it, and we are enjoying having him here.”

If Wickham does go then the Owls will be short up front and will need to bring in someone else.

Gray already believes that injuries have left the club too short of competition for places.

At the moment we have far too many players in the treatment room; we’ve just lost that bit of competition to keep people on their toes, where they think ‘if I don’t perform, I’ll be left out because someone is ready to grab the shirt.’

“We never expected to lose three centre halves, and Lewis Buxton has been out with hamstring and groin problems, and Reda has been out with his foot - that’s been a disappointing thing - neither Dave Jones nor I has had a settled back four.”