Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has announced in his Friday press conference that he will not be loaning out frustrated youngster Connor Wickham.

The 19-year-old signed for the Black Cats in June 2011 from Ipswich Town for a fee of £8million. The striker featured often for Sunderland under former manager Steve Bruce, but first-team football dried up for the youngster following the appointment of Martin O’Neill.

Despite the North-East club’s struggle for goals this season, having only scored 7 times in the Premier League – the lowest amount in the division – Wickham has played just once, making a single substitute appearance during an away defeat to Everton last weekend.

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has now told reporters he will not send the England U21s forward out on loan to get some game time due to the club’s hectic run of fixtures over the Christmas period.

“A number of clubs have asked about him, and we’ve already sent David Meyler out on loan at Hull City the moment,” said the Northern Irishman, in a press conference shown on Sky Sports News.

“We don’t have the biggest squad in the world, and of course it would be good for younger players like Connor to get those games.

“But we couldn’t do it last week because Connor was in our squad; in fact he came on late on in the game against Everton.

“So we don’t have the numbers at this moment.

“Plus the fact at this stage it might be difficult because we have 7 games in the next month and we can’t afford that at the moment,” he added.

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