Tony Mowbray has provided the latest update on Sunderland‘s injury issues and it seems as if influential duo Ross Stewart and Daniel Ballard could soon be back in action.
While the pre-World Cup matches are likely to be too soon for the centre-back and striker, the home game against Milwall on December 3rd could be a realistic return date for both, as Mowbray confirmed that they are both back on the grass after spells on the sidelines.
He said: “We are getting there. Ross was on the training pitch with the physios. Danny Ballard was out there too. We’re going to have options around the corner. Football is always a balance of what type of player you have.”
Ballard joined Sunderland from Arsenal during the summer transfer window and made a promising start to life with the Black Cats, starting in the draw against Coventry and win against Bristol City, before picking up an injury in the 2-2 stalemate with QPR in August.
The 23-year-old suffered a fractured foot and was expected to be out for the foreseeable future, so it can only be good news for Sunderland that he is closing in on a return, with his rehabilitation likely to continue during the World Cup break.
Stewart, meanwhile, has proven to be a big miss for Sunderland during his spell on the sidelines, as the Scottish striker enjoyed a superb start to the Championship season.
After firing the Black Cats to promotion from League One last season, the 26-year-old hit five goals and three assists in just seven Championship appearances, averaging a phenomenal 7.81 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
The fact that Mowbray’s side have won just twice since Stewart picked up his injury emphasises how important he is at the Stadium of Light, so it is undoubtedly great news that both he and Ballard are edging closer to a return.
With another month of recovery under their belt, there seems no reason why both can’t return after the World Cup interval.