Wickham targets Sunderland starting role

Connor Wickham is determined to become Sunderland's first-choice striker after excelling at the end of last season

The 21-year-old spent time on loan at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United during the 2013-14 campaign, but returned to the Premier League side in March and provided a much-needed goal threat for Gus Poyet.

Wickham scored five goals in nine appearances to help pull Sunderland clear of the relegation zone and wants to kick on and become a regular starter in the future.

"The aim is to be the main striker next season," he told the Shields Gazette. "I'll take a break, switch off, relax and have a bit of chill out time. Then I'll start doing my training and start thinking about it.

"I'll make sure I do the right training and make sure I put myself in the manager's thoughts when we come back.

"There's a lot of competition for places, particularly as (Steven) Fletcher is going to come back

"But it's down to me and what I can do, I've just got to be better than anyone in my position."

Wickham arrived at the Stadium of Light from Ipswich Town in 2011 for £8million, but has struggled to break into the first team until his flurry of goals helped to safeguard Sunderland's top-flight safety.