Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has commented on the future of striker Connor Wickham, amid interest from Sheffield Wednesday over a potential loan move.
The former Sunderland striker has struggled for regular playing time in South London due to injuries and players playing in front of him in the pecking order like Christian Benteke, Jordan Ayew and Wilfried Zaha, and now Cenk Tosun, who arrived recently from Everton.
This has left Wickham at the point where he will struggle to even more to get regular minutes for the Eagles, and interest in his signature this month has grown as a result.
One club who have a great need to add more firepower up front is Sheffield Wednesday (according to the Sun), who have lost Steven Fletcher for an extended period after he picked up an injury against Brighton in the FA Cup earlier this month.
Wickham has made five appearances in the Premier League this season, scoring and assisting one apiece in the process, so is in need of more regular playing time to revitalise his career.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference before Palace face Southampton on Tuesday, Hodgson had this to say on where Wickham currently stands at Selhurst Park. He stated (as quoted by football.london): “When it comes to Connor it is really a question about him.
“It has been a long time since he has been able to play regularly. He was recovering from a serious injury and then picking up other injuries.
“This season, we have not had that with him. But he has had to accept others are playing in front of him.
“I think for his future, he needs to get a run of games. I might not be able to guarantee him that, but I must emphasise he trains well, he is very professional, and if he stays [at Palace] that is no problem. You can’t have too many front players.
“After scoring at Norwich and being heavily involved in our equaliser at Manchester City, he is feeling quite good about himself.
“I have nothing against him staying, but it is a discussion the club will need to have with him about if it is better for him to be the first name on a team sheet somewhere else, which I can’t guarantee him.”
It is yet to be seen whether Wednesday are making real progress over a potential loan deal, but there is certainly a keen interest from those at Hillsborough to see a reunion for the man who had a loan spell from Sunderland at S6.
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It is obvious that Hodgson cannot guarantee Wickham regular playing time, especially after pulling out the stops to get Cenk Tosun in on-loan, whom Hodgson has been a long-term admirer of.
Wednesday would be an ideal move, if it materialises because he would be getting a lot of first-team minutes with Fletcher set to be out for at least a month from now, on top of the lack of consistency shown by the other frontmen Garry Monk has at his disposal.