Wickham staying at Sunderland despite loan interest

The teenager has only featured once for the Black Cats this season and, although his manager would like to sanction a temporary move, the size of the squad dictates otherwise

Martin O'Neill has revealed that Connor Wickham will not be leaving Sunderland on loan, despite admitting a temporary move would be beneficial for the striker.

The 19-year-old has made just one substitute appearance for the Black Cats so far this season, coming off the bench for two minutes of the 2-1 loss to Everton on Saturday.

O’Neill revealed that “a number” of clubs are interested in Connor, but a busy schedule and niggling injuries to fellow forwards Steven Fletcher and James McFadden would make a loan deal inadvisable.

"A number of clubs have asked about him and we've already sent David Meyler out on loan to Hull City at this moment," he told reporters. "We don't have the biggest squad in the world.

17/4 Sunderland are 17/4 with bet365 to beat Fulham
"Of course it would be great for some of the younger players like Connor to get those games, but we couldn't do it last week because Connor was in our squad, and in fact he came on late on in the game against Everton.

"So we just don't have the numbers at this moment.

"Plus the fact that now, at this particular stage, it might be difficult because we have about seven games coming up in the next month, and we just can't afford that."

Sunderland travel to Craven Cottage on Sunday in search of their first away win of the season and improve on their current standing on 16th in the Premier League table, having drawn four times and lost twice on the road.