This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Ross Stewart headed in to open the scoring at Fleetwood Town at the weekend, with a late equaliser condemning The black Cats to a draw.
The 25-year-old, who struggled for regular game time last time out after his mid-season move from Ross County, now has five goals to his name after seven League One outings.
Stewart’s move to Sunderland is his first venture south of the border, and whilst he struggled to secure regular minutes last season, he is now reaping the rewards of being patient and plugging away.
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During the early stages of his career, the forward was plying his trade in the depths of Scottish football, before he was afforded a chance in the country’s top tier with St Mirren in 2018/19.
Three of our writers, here at FLW, have had their say on how many goals Ross Stewart should be aiming for this season…
You feel as though Stewart should really be pushing towards the 20-goal mark for Sunderland this season.
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It has already been a strong start to the campaign for the 25-year-old, with five goals from his seven league games to date, and while strikers do sometimes find it tough to maintain that sort of record throughout a campaign as long as this one, it does seem as though he ought to be a regular scorer going forward.
Indeed, given the return that Charlie Wyke produced last season, the fact that Stewart is now playing in that same position means he should get plenty of opportunities to continue to get on the scoresheet, having already shown the same sort of clinical instinct that Wyke did last time around.
Looking at Sunderland’s options upfront, it also seems as though Stewart, fitness permitting, should be the man most likely to lead the line for the Blacks Cats over the next few months. That too should ensure that 25-year-old has plenty of time to increase his goals tally even further, meaning that given his start to the campaign, anything that is not well into double figures will no doubt feel like something of a disappointment.
Indeed, if he doesn’t continue to keep up his strong start to the season, things could get tricky for Sunderland in the promotion battle.
Ross Stewart has never hit double figures in league goals in his career. Therefore, to be expecting him to push on and win the League One golden boot this season feels a little unrealistic.
The 25-year-old has an excellent supporting cast and if he can continue to develop an understanding with the likes of Elliot Embleton and Aiden McGeady then 20 league goals is a realistic target.
While McGeady is on the pitch Stewart will not be taking penalties which always pads out a striker’s goalscoring numbers, so 15 goals would represent an excellent season but 20 will be the aim.
Despite scoring his first goals for Wigan Athletic at the weekend, no one is talking about Charlie Wyke at the Stadium of Light at the moment and Ross Stewart is the main reason for that. If he can continue getting in dangerous positions and on the end of chances at such regularity, the 20 target is definitely achievable.
I think a lot depends on the service he gets.
Stewart is a similar type of striker to Charlie Wyke, so a lot will depend on him potentially scoring 20 goals or more this season.
If the likes of Aiden McGeady are on top form and can put the ball on a plate for him, then he will be presented with a lot of chances.
Wyke was never really prolific for the Black Cats before last season, so it shows just how much of a difference players like McGeady made to him.
He’s already on 5 goals in 7 games and I can see him pushing for 20.