CONNOR Wickham regards his loan move to Hillsborough as a major step in his career, writes Paul Thompson.
The £8m striker from Sunderland is delighted to have been offered first-team football by the Owls and eager for the challenge of helping them to climb the table.
He made an impressive debut as a sub in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Derby on the day after the first loan move of his career was completed.
“To come in and go on after half an hour, I was a bit surprised,” the. 19-year-old former Ipswich star admitted. “But the manager gave me the nod, Whenever he does that, I’m ready. I was warm and excited to get going.
“I think I did well. Going 2-0 down is not ideal but the boys showed a lot of character and determination to get back in the game, and we did it very well. The manager just said ‘go on and show what you can do, don’t feel any pressure’ which I didn’t. I went on with no fear.
“I just went to help the lads; we got a boost after going two down, lifted ourselves and recovered really well.”
The England Under 21 striker did not meet his new team-mates until Saturday morning.
“I was eager to get playing, I’ve settled right in. I think it will be a big step in my career and something I can learn from.
“The manager at Sunderland (Martin O’Neill) was happy for me to come and get games and experience. Not getting enough game time there was a big part in me coming here.
“I spoke to the manager (Dave Jones). He told me everything I needed to hear. That was basically it. My mind was made up. I wanted to come. It’s a massive club, there’s a good manager, a good team ethic, and they’re going forward, so hopefully I can be part of the team going forward.
“I just want games and to gain experience from being here. A few goals would help to get the team up the table.
“Maybe there are a lot of expectations, which hopefully I’ll live up to. I’m confident I can do that.”