The Scottish forward was in line to start against Chris Wilder’s side but was forced to miss out after picking up an injury, which was perhaps a big factor in the Black Cats’ poor performance as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at the Riverside Stadium.
Tony Mowbray provided an update on the talismanic forward following the match, saying: “Ross did it shooting in the warm-up. He’s popped a muscle in his thigh. It seems a very isolated spot, but whether it’s a tear in the upper thigh where he’s struck the ball, we’ll have to see.
“It needs a scan. It’ll either come back grade one, grade two or grade three, which will mean he’s out for two weeks, four weeks or eight weeks. Let’s wait and see.”
Sunderland have enjoyed a lot of success so far this season playing Stewart alongside Ellis Simms up front as a duo.
The two strikers have contributed eight goals and three assists between them, with the former ranked as their best-performing player and the Everton loanee ranked third in the Black Cats’ squad (as per WhoScored).
Therefore, to lose the Scottish forward just days after the transfer window shut is undoubtedly a huge blow for Mowbray as he looks to continue Sunderland’s impressive start to the new campaign, which has seen them lose only to Norwich City, Sheffield United and Middlesbrough, three teams who will all expect to be in and around the play-off positions at the end of the season.
Stewart was vital to Sunderland’s promotion last term, enjoying an “incredible” campaign which saw him hit 26 goals in League One, and his start to 2022/23 promised plenty more goals across the season, having already struck five times.
After the Black Cats’ disappointing display in the defeat at Middlesbrough on Monday night, Mowbray must be worried that Sunderland could struggle in front of goal without their star striker.
He will be hoping that Stewart’s injury – which journalist Josh Bunting bemoaned as a “huge blow” to the team prior to the ‘Boro game – is not a severe one.