Belfast Telegraph

Wickham fears the drop

Connor Wickham's two goals against Manchester City may have been a huge relief for the young striker but he admitted Sunderland's failure to hold on for victory may have been a killer blow.

Wickham finally made the breakthrough in the Premier League with his impressive double in the 2-2 draw - the 21-year-old has been living with the burden of an £8million price tag since he joined Sunderland from Ipswich as a 17-year-old in 2011.

A win would have been a huge boost to bottom club Sunderland's survival hopes but City forced a late equaliser through Samir Nasri.

Wickham told Press Association Sport: "It was definitely a killer blow but we have five games left so it's not impossible.

"If we perform on Saturday like we did then I don't see why we wouldn't have a chance."

Wickham had been recalled from his loan spell with Leeds by manager Gus Poyet and repaid that faith by scoring his first Premier League goals since October 2011.

He added: "It was a massive relief for me to score, not just for myself but I think for the team.

"I guess I had a point to prove - I've been sent out on loan a couple of times but that's football for me. I'm just out to do what I do and hopefully I have done myself no harm with this performance.

"It wasn't easy playing in the Premier League at 17 but I've never felt pressured to do what I do.

"We performed so well and dug in and from the moment they scored first I think we dominated the game.

"Don't get me wrong they had their patches but we created more, we defended solidly and when we went forward we looked a threat and thankfully the two goals eventually came and they got a lucky one right at the end."

Wickham's loan spells at Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday proved successful but he confirmed it was not a move he had asked for.

He added: "I didn't plan to go out on loan, but it happened. I've played a lot of football since going away. That can only help me and benefit me.

"I came to play Premier League football, but I went away, got match-fit, scored a few goals and I've played against three of the top five since coming back.

"I didn't ask to come back, the manager called me, so, for me, it was a positive and I had something to prove.

"Hopefully this is the start of something new."

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