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Jozy Altidore’s competition at Sunderland may be thinning out

Honduras v United States - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier

SANDY, UT - JUNE 18: Jozy Altidore #17 of the United States celebrates his goal against Honduras during the second half of an World Cup Qualifying March June 18, 2013 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. The USA beat Honduras 1-0. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

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Jozy Altidore’s competition at striker may be thinning out as Sheffield Wednesday is keen on a loan move for Connor Wickham.

Since arriving at Sunderland in June 2011 on a $12 million (£8m) deal from Ipswich Town, Wickham has failed to make a consistent impact, making only 25 appearances.

Despite Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher suffering a season ending ankle injury last March, Wickham found his chances few and far between. In February 2013, the 20 year old was sent to Sheffield Wednesday on a short term loan, where he featured in six matches, scoring one goal.

With Altidore’s arrival on Tyneside, Sheffield Wednesday boss Dave Jones senses that he stands a good shot at bringing Wickham back to Hillsborough Stadium and would welcome such an arrangement.

It remains to be seen whether Paolo Di Canio would be willing to send the England Under 21 out on a second loan deal, although it is widely acknowledged that Wickham’s development is taking longer than expected and he needs minutes and goals to build his confidence.

As it stands now, Altidore faces stiff competition from Fletcher and Danny Graham for the starting spot at the Stadium of Light. Black Cats boss Paulo di Canio typically employs a 4-4-1-1, which means space is limited at the front of the line.

Altidore will benefit from Fletcher’s continued recovery from ligament damage but will need to get his name on the scoresheet early in the season if he’s to make the position his own. As for Graham, the 27 year old spent all of last season out of form and lacks the nose for goal that Altidore and Fletcher both possess.

In other words, things are looking up for Mr. Altidore.