MARTIN O’Neill will hold talks with Connor Wickham over the possibility of a loan move.
The England Under-21 striker has been relegated to the fringes of the Sunderland squad since the summer acquisition of Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha, but reminded the Black Cats boss of his presence with a goal against Norway U21s in midweek.
O’Neill admits that it has been a difficult year for Wickham, but says it is no certainty that he will be made available on loan over the next few days – despite the youngster’s obvious need for games.
“I watched the game from the comfort of the television,” O’Neill revealed. “It’s been a tough time for him. Steve bought him as one for the future. It’s been tough for him to cement a place in the side under me. Connor knows what he has to do to try to nail a place in the side in a tough old league.
“I need to speak with him. We don’t have the squad to send a lot of players out at any time. Some of the younger boys last season, we didn’t mind sending them out, we would stagger them so you wouldn’t have too many out at any one time.
“We don’t have, at this minute, the biggest squad in the world after transfer deadline. However, we do have a number of forwards that I can give some thought to.”