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Wickham confident new boss Sunderland boss O'Neill will bring out his potential

Connor Wickham intends to take over the goalscoring mantle of Darren Bent who left Sunderland a year ago, with the help of new Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill. The 18 year old, an £8.1million signing by former boss Steve Bruce from Ipswich last summer, has so far been restricted by a knee injury to five starts - and one goal - this season.

The Journal.

"I do not want to be one of those where in a few years' time people are asking, 'Where is he now?'

"It is all about keeping your head right, training right and being sensible off the pitch, keeping everything in order.

"I think I have a manager who is going to make sure I do that.

"He has made it quite clear the boys have to be right.

"What is working off the pitch is showing in how well we are doing on the pitch. He has brought something to the team which is unique and that is why the boys are doing well."

Wickham believes the rest of the campaign will show his true potential.

"I feel I am ready to step up now," he added.

"If I get a run of games and I score a goal - if you get one then you get another and another and another. It boils down to when I can earn my place back in the team.

"Hopefully when that happens I can score the goals we need."

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Dave Williams

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