Sunderland v West Brom: Wickham talks of 'point to prove'
Connor Wickham is under no illusions as to the task that Sunderland face as they look to recover from their FA Cup exit against West Brom at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Gus Poyet's men were bundled out of the competition at League One Bradford City on Sunday, with the Uruguayan making headlines after the match when he accused the media of playing a part in his side's recent difficulties.
Sunderland - winless in three and potentially without Jermain Defoe (calf) - sit just two points off the Premier League's relegation zone and welcome a West Brom side beaten only once since the appointment of head coach Tony Pulis.
"West Bromwich Albion are on a roll at the moment so we know that it won't be easy, but we have got a point to prove following the result last weekend," striker Wickham told the club's official website.
"The boys are strong and they know what we need to do to pick ourselves up and move forward.
"As I said it will be a tough game but it is one we can look forward to and hopefully use it as a bounce-back game to kick-start our form."
While Poyet was on the receiving end of negative chants from the frustrated Sunderland faithful at Valley Parade, West Brom fans have seen their club's form pick up impressively since Pulis' arrival.
A return of nine points from a possible 18, coupled with a convincing 4-0 FA Cup fifth-round win over West Ham, has raised spirits at The Hawthorns.
With West Brom able to end the weekend in 12th place with a victory and favourable results elsewhere, goalkeeper Ben Foster feels Pulis' impact cannot be underestimated.
"When the gaffer first came in we had a meeting and he gave us this little stat that was a diamond one - every clean sheet that you keep in the Premier League is worth an average of 2.1 points," Foster told the Birmingham Mail.
"He set us a target of 10 clean sheets before the end of the season. If we can keep clean sheets we are going to get a good chunk of the points we need. We definitely look more solid.
"I've worked with Tony Pulis before at Stoke, I know what he's about and, for a team like us, he's an absolute diamond, he's exactly what we need.
"He's very much old school, very much in charge of everything and that's how it is, there aren't any grey areas. It's very black and white."
Swedish defender Jonas Olsson could be in the reckoning following an Achilles injury, having played 90 minutes in the Birmingham Senior Cup on Tuesday, although Victor Anichebe (groin) remains doubtful.