A concerning injury claim has been made over Sunderland striker Ross Stewart…
Alex Neil stated that the forward looked “jaded” after the draw with AFC Wimbledon and Kevin Phillips has now raised his concerns over that news, with regards to the player’s fitness.
He told Football Insider: “From the outset, I’ve said there is an over-reliance on Ross Stewart to score goals. If he is missing, where are the goals going to come from?
“Nobody can expect Jermain Defoe to be the answer given his age and how little football he’s played this season. He’s not going to get in there and run the channels. He cannot do what Ross Stewart does.
“Therefore, Stewart’s fitness is a worry, especially given the run of form the team’s on at the moment. They’ve relied so heavily on him this season.”
Sunderland fans will be gutted with this news as Stewart has been a major player for Sunderland this season and could now be struggling with his fitness in the second half of the campaign, which is a big worry for the side.
The Black Cats are heading towards the business end of the season as they look to seal either an automatic promotion place or a spot in the play-offs and losing their top scorer, to injury or form due to fitness, would be a huge blow.
Stewart is the only Sunderland player who has scored more than five league goals this term. He has found the back of the net an outstanding 18 times in 32 starts, which suggests that he has been carrying the attack on his back throughout the campaign.
With Nathan Broadhead currently out injured, the second-top scorer in the current squad that is available is Alex Pritchard with four – two of which have come in the last two games. Therefore, it would be a huge blow for Neil if the Scottish striker now goes off the boil and struggles to hit his top form again due to his fitness, which is why fans will be gutted.
It could be worthwhile for Sunderland to give him an extended rest for one or two matches in order for him to catch his breath and be ready to come back stronger. A spell on the sidelines working on his fitness in training could allow him to regain his sharpness before returning to the XI and finding his goalscoring touch again.
This scenario would be the dream for the Black Cats as the statistics suggest that they are in desperate need of his goals to keep their promotion dream afloat.