Southampton star now close to injury return but could face tough battle

The former Black Cats striker joined Southampton in a move that ‘suited all parties’

Former Sunderland striker Ross Stewart is approaching a return to action for new club Southampton after a protracted absence. The Scottish striker suffered a severe Achilles injury during the Black Cats’ FA Cup match against Fulham in January and has not played since.

With Stewart entering the final year of his contract, Sunderland cashed in on the striker, who joined their Championship opponents in the hope of regaining promotion to the top flight. Stewart was on the sidelines when the Black Cats thrashed the Saints 5-0 earlier this season.

Russell Martin’s team has struggled for consistency this season, but Stewart’s return could provide some steadiness to the Saints lineup. The Scot will have to prove himself in order to make Martin’s starting XI, but he should have no trouble doing so.

Mark Wyatt, Southampton FC writer for Hampshire Live, spoke with Chronicle Live about when Stewart might return, the Saints’ reaction to his arrival, and how he’ll fit in at St. Mary’s.


Interview: Stewart on becoming a Saint | Video | Southampton FC Official  Site

How was his move received by supporters?

Mark Wyatt:

“Saints fans were overjoyed to learn of this signing. The club hasn’t made a practice of recruiting centre-forwards in recent years, and the January purchase of Paul Onuachu from Genk was a flop for all sides.

“Stewart on the other hand has, unlike Onuachu, bags of experience at this level and an excellent record in front of goal.”

How far away is he from returning?


“Russell Martin has not set a date for his return to action, but Stewart has returned to training in recent weeks.” With the October international break now providing Saints with a respite before their next away game against Hull on October 21, fans are hoping the striker will make his debut off the bench.

“Still, Saints won’t want to rush his return.”

What did Martin have to say about the move?

MW: “Martin has mentioned Stewart’s character and what he brings to the dressing room off the pitch several times already, while also saying he felt it was a move that benefitted everybody. It seems like the Saints boss is very much looking forward to what Stewart can bring to the team once he is fit and firing.”

How big of a battle does he have on his hands to get into the side once fit?

MW: “Stewart shouldn’t have too many problems getting his chance in the Southampton team as it hasn’t been too settled this season. Russell Martin has tinkered with his team trying to find the right balance but hasn’t been helped by injury problems.

“Once Stewart is ready to play a part, Martin will no doubt get him in the team to lead the line and shuffle the pack around him.”

Where in the pecking order will he be?

MW: “Adam Armstrong has seven goals this season, but he can play in a variety of positions and has already impressed on the right wing and in midfield.” Sekou Mara is a squad player, whereas Carlos Alcaraz has played as a false 9 but is a better natural midfielder.

“Stewart’s biggest battle will be with Che Adams, though his compatriot has struggled for goals of late, scoring in each of the first three league games of the season but failing to add to that tally since.”

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