Charlie Wyke says this has made the difference as he hits the goal trail at Sunderland
Charlie Wyke says a sharp spike in his confidence has led to his upturn in form at Sunderland.
After struggling to net consistently following his arrival at the Stadium of Light in 2018, Wyke has turned a corner this term – and has taken his tally to the season to 13 in all competitions after his treble at AFC Wimbledon.
His three goals were all well-taken and helped the Black Cats to a crucial three points as they look to climb back into promotion contention.
And having netted his first hat-trick since joining the club from Bradford City, Wyke has explained how a rise in his confidence level had led to his upturn in form this campaign.
"There's no getting away from the fact that I've had a difficult time at Sunderland, and it's nice to get all the frustration out and score some goals,” he said after the Wimbledon win.
"Long may it continue.
"Over the last two seasons, I probably would have missed those opportunities with a lack of confidence.
"But today they went in for me today, and like it has been all season I really enjoyed it. I'm full of confidence.”
Key to that rise in confidence has been the arrival of head coach Lee Johnson, who has placed his faith in Wyke since his arrival on Wearside.
And the striker says he is keen to repay the faith shown in him by the Sunderland boss – while admitting his desired style of play is also yielding results from a personal perspective.
"It's been a confidence issue over the last few seasons, but he's come in and said he really likes me and that he wants me to play for him,” added Wyke.
"When a manager puts trust in you, you want to repay that.
“The manager is big on getting in certain areas, upgrading the cross and then getting in better areas. It's working for me at the minute.”
The striker’s treble at Plough Lane helped seal Sunderland’s first league win in over a month, with three points deemed as vital prior to the game given the Wearsiders’ slide down the table.
That message was reinforced by Johnson, with Wyke hopeful the club can now move on from some testing times of late.
"The manager told us that we had to win today,” he revealed.
"It wasn't an easy game, but we came out with the three points.
"It hasn't been easy with the COVID outbreak and the change of team, and it has been stop-start since the manager came in. But he's really put down a stamp of how he wants to play and the lads are buying into it.”
The victory in the capital saw Sunderland climb to within three points of the play-off places, and Wyke says the target within the camp is still a return to the Championship.
“The aim is obviously promotion.
"At the start of the season we said promotion and it's definitely still on for us. We just need to kick on now.”