Wickham shoots down talk of Town reunion

CONNOR Wickham has vowed to stay and fight for his Sunderland place – putting an end to any hopes of a dramatic return to Ipswich Town.

Blues boss Paul Jewell had raised the prospect of Wickham coming back to Town on a loan basis after revealing he had spoken with Black Cats manager Steve Bruce about the possibility of a return.

Wickham has endured a difficult start with the Premier League side and failed to impress when starting for England Under-21s in their 6-0 drubbing of Azerbaijan last week.

But on the eve of the emergency loan window opening, the teenage striker has confirmed he is fully focused on proving his worth on Wearside.

A source close to Wickham said: “Connor loved his time at Ipswich and the support he received from the fans was fantastic and appreciated. He now wants to prove himself in the Premiership and the competition for places is healthy and one he is looking forward to.”

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Jewell last week admitted he wanted to be first in the queue should Wickham be offered out on a loan deal – despite the Town boss getting short shrift from Bruce when the matter was discussed.

Wickham was sold in June for an initial �8.1 million, rising to �13 million, but the young striker has played little over half an hour in their opening three league matches, not even starting in the shock 1-0 defeat by Brighton in the Carling Cup.

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Jewell revealed: “I spoke with Steve the other day and we were chatting about various things. I thought he (Connor) probably needed another year in the Championship and I said to Steve if they wanted to loan him back, we would take him. He, very cleverly, went on to another subject.

“I thought he needed another year in the Championship and then we’ll see if he is ready to make the step up. They bought him and he hasn’t played but he might catch fire. He has certainly got the attributes and he is a man in body. But, football-wise, he is a boy.”

But even though Sunderland signed Arsenal frontman Nicklas Bendtner on deadline day last week, Wickham appears to have no intention of leaving the Stadium of Light on a loan deal.

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