Kevin Phillips has backed Ross Stewart to come from strength to strength after scoring on his Sunderland debut this week.
Stewart joined Sunderland from Ross County on Deadline Day, after scoring six goals in 24 appearances for the club this season.
Stewart – who scored 11 goals in the SPFL last season – has had to be patient for his chance at Sunderland, though, having missed the last couple of months through injury.
The 24-year-old made his Sunderland debut this week, replacing Jack Diamond at the interval, before scoring the opening goal on 62 minutes in a 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley.
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Having scored only 17 minutes into his Black Cats debut, Phillips spoke of his delight for the striker and has backed him to be full of confidence going forward.
Speaking to Football Insider, he said: “Speaking for experience, it is always nice to score on your debut.
“What a time to do it as well. Sunderland have such an important run in and now I expect him to kick on.
“It was a tough game away at Accrington. To score on your debut is amazing because there is so much pressure.
“It does not matter if there is a crowd in or not. When you pull that red and white shirt on your know you are playing for a big club so it is nice to see him get off the mark early.
“For Lee and the squad it is great. There is competition and backup for Charlie now. Charlie has had a lot of pressure on his shoulders this season and now Lee knows he has another goalscorer in his squad.
“Stewart will be full of confidence for the rest of the season. It is positive news all round.”
Sunderland – who won the Papa John’s Trophy last week – sit third in League One and only five points off top spot as they prepare to take on Lincoln City this weekend.
It has been a frustrating second half of the season for Stewart with injury, but he will have been delighted in midweek.
To score as a substitute is always a good feeling, but to score so quickly into your debut is a massive weight off the shoulders.
His goalscoring record in Scotland was impressive and it was a bit of a coup to lure him to the Stadium of Light.
He’s still relatively young at the age of 24, and he has plenty of time to develop going forward.