Ex-Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has backed forward Ross Stewart to settle in well and make a useful impact at the Stadium of Light.
Stewart, who scored 28 goals in 82 appearances in all competitions for Ross County, joined the Black Cats from the Scottish Premiership side for an undisclosed fee, in order to provide support upfront for Charlie Wyke following the departures of Danny Graham and Will Grigg from the Stadium of Light.
Now it seems that Phillips believes that the fact that Stewart is not as high profile a name as Graham or Grigg, could help him to adapt to his new surroundings with the Blacks Cats.
Speaking to Football Insider about the signing of Stewart, Phillips said: “He’s signed for a few quid but he’s not coming with a massive load of pressure in terms of his reputation.
“Of course, there is always some pressure signing for Sunderland, especially given the position they’re in in terms of scoring goals.
“If you’re Danny Graham or Will Grigg who’s come with a reputation, they have more pressure. Stewart doesn’t need to worry about that too much.”
Even so, it seems Phillips is confident that Stewart will still be a useful asset for the Black Cats, with the ex-England international going on to add: “From what I’ve seen, he’s an exciting young talent.
“He probably hasn’t scored the goals he’d like this year so hopefully he can get back on that trail with Sunderland and give competition to Charlie Wyke up top. Or maybe they can play the pair together.
“But I think the signings that Sunderland have made are pretty exciting, they’ve done good business in the window.
“Then again, they’ve gone for attacking players but they’re conceding goals every week as well. So that’s still an area they need to work on.”
As well as Stewart, Sunderland also signed midfielder Carl Winchester from Forest Green permanently in January, while left back Jake Vokins and winger Jordan Jones joined on loan until the end of the season from Southampton and Rangers respectively.
Stewart has yet to make his debut for Sunderland, with manager Lee Johnson suggesting that the striker’s first appearance for the club could come at home to League One promotion rivals Doncaster Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
I do agree with Phillips that this could be a decent signing for Sunderland.
With Graham and Grigg both leaving the club after difficult spells at the Stadium of Light, they certainly needed to boost their striking department, and they have done that with Stewart.
Having previously got goals in the Scottish Premiership, the 24-year-old may well be confident of doing that at League One level, and that could build his confidence and momentum going forward.
Even if he doesn’t, then the form that Charlie Wyke is in could relieve some of the pressure on him, given the expectations on him are not as high as Graham or Grigg, meaning the circumstances around this signing could work well for all parties.