Connor Wickham is back in first-team training and looking better than ever, as the video from the striker’s Instagram account below proves.
Having been missing from Alan Pardew’s starting XI since our August victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the frontman now appears ready to return to the fold in a fully functioning capacity, just in time for the visit of his former employers to Selhurst Park on Monday night.
It could well prove to be a big night for Connor who, by his own admission, didn’t enjoy the best of relationships with Black Cats’ fans, after failing to find the net on a regular basis throughout his stay at The Stadium Of Light. Now under the tutelage of Alan Pardew, the Ipswich academy graduate has spoken openly about the new lease of life he is enjoying in SE25, with Monday night’s game no doubt looked upon as the perfect opportunity for him to grab his first goal in red and blue.
Whilst his career has never been littered with goals, you need only to look at the physical presence he offers at the head of a side to see why the likes of Alan Pardew and new Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce are so quick to praise him.
It may come across as something of a cliché’ but a lot of what Wickham adds to any side from week to week is impossible to measure in statistical terms. To take his display against Chelsea as a case in point, we witnessed a striker who refused to give a minute’s peace to either one of the central defenders tasked with containing him on the day, allowing the side to press on in the knowledge that he would be available in the final third as a target to play off whenever necessary.
Let’s hope next Monday is the first of a prolonged run of fruitful starts for Connor, as he looks to shake off the underwhelming reputation he was labelled with during his time in the North East.