Journey back to Hillsborough - How new signing Connor Wickham’s career panned out after his last spell at Sheffield Wednesday
Connor Wickham is back with Sheffield Wednesday, six years after the second of two excellent loan spells at Hillsborough.
His career since has been a rollercoaster ride - unfortunately with more health-related dips than goalscoring highs.
Here, we take a look at where the striker’s career has taken him since departing the Owls in January 2014.
Wickham was recalled by Sunderland in late January 2014 after scoring eight goals in 11 matches, including two in the 6-0 demolition of Leeds United.
FROM WHITEWASH TO WHITE SHIRTS
Less than two months after his brace against Leeds, Wickham signed on loan for the Whites until the end of the season. He made five appearances without scoring for Leeds before being recalled only a month into his spell.
BACK AT SUNDERLAND
After his return from Leeds, Wickham started all but one game for Sunderland in the final couple of months of the season and scored five goals. He went on to be a virtual ever present for Sunderland in the 2014/15 and signed a new four-and-a-half year contract. Then-Black Cats boss Gus Poyet said around the time: “A player with Connor’s physique and ability can go as far as he wants. The chances football gives you, you have to take, and he has done that.”
HE PLAYED ALONGSIDE STEVEN FLETCHERWickham partnered current Owls striker Steven Fletcher in the Sunderland attack on 16 occasions in the 2014/15 season. Sunderland won four of those matches. The highlight of the partnership was a 3-1 win over Stoke City when Fletcher scored twice and Wickham once.
MOVE TO THE PALACEIn August 2015 he joined Crystal Palace for an undisclosed fee, believed to be an initial £7m. His first season was punctuated by injuries but he finished with a record of six goals in 24 appearances.
In November 2016, Wickham damaged his cruciate ligament, beginning a horrendous two year spell on the sidelines. He did not return to action until October 2018 when he made a late substitute appearance, and was not back fully until January 2019. He made only nine appearances in total that season but signed a contract extension to carry him through to the summer of 2021. “It meant a lot that the club backed me after such a serious injury and I hope I’ll be able to repay that faith shown in me,” he said at the time.
ON THE FRINGES
Wickham has made nine appearances for Palace this season, scoring once, with only two starts. Injuries kept him out early in the campaign and he then struggled for game time. He has been involved in every matchday squad since the start of December with Palace boss Roy Hodgson pleased to see his progress. “It’s good he’s had a spell now of a month where he’s been training regularly, had the odd game for the under 23s," Hodgson said. “When he’s had a chance to come on in the last two games it’s good to see and to prove he is capable of playing.”