ON-LOAN Sunderland striker Connor Wickham is expected to make his first start for Sheffield Wednesday at Birmingham tonight.
Wickham made his Wednesday bow from the bench against Derby County 10 days ago, albeit he was introduced just after the half-hour mark.
But the £8m frontman is set to be included in the starting line-up for the Owls against fellow strugglers Birmingham, in the first of five games he is eligible for before he is due to return to the Stadium of Light next month.
Wednesday boast a meagre two-point gap with the relegation zone, yet victory tonight would see them leapfrog the Blues.
And with Dave Jones’s side enjoying a five-match unbeaten run in the Championship, Wickham is looking forward to the challenge of creating real daylight between the bottom four.
Wickham said: “It’s so tight. Anyone can beat anyone in this league. A few points can take you up several places.
“I think it’s a good challenge that all the boys are looking forward to, especially me.”
Wickham is likely to partner fellow loanee Leroy Lita tonight, with the ex-Middlesbrough man netting two goals in three games since arriving until the end of the season from Swansea.
“I’ve played against Leroy a few times, and always thought he’s a good player,” added Wickham.
“I’ve also always thought that maybe he was an under-rated player, so it was good to get the chance to go on (against Derby), and play alongside him. I thought we showed some good link-up play.
“Hopefully we can be a good pairing.”
Meanwhile, Wickham’s fellow Sunderland youngster Billy Knott is receiving treatment on a hamstring injury which could cut short his loan spell with Woking.
Knott was due to remain with the Blue Square Premier outfit until March 2, but damaged his hamstring in the early stages of Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Newport County.
n Former Sunderland defender Pascal Chimbonda is training with MLS outfit Chicago Fire.
Chimbonda, who was released by Doncaster Rovers during the summer, featured in a 4-2 pre-season victory over Coastal Caroline University on Sunday, as he attempts to earn a permanent contract on the other side of the Atlantic.