Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has revealed that striker Ross Stewart picked up an ankle injury in his side’s 2-2 draw at Fleetwood Town on Saturday afternoon.
Stewart played the full 90 minutes of that draw at Highbury, and had scored his fifth league goal of the season to put the Black Cats 1-0 up in the game.
However, the striker appeared to be moving awkwardly towards the end of the game, as Fleetwood battled back from 2-0 down to claim a point.
Now it seems as though Stewart suffered a blow to his ankle, in a challenge that Johnson felt was heavier than the one that led to the stoppage time penalty that earned Fleetwood a point.
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Speaking after the game about the knock suffered by Stewart, the Sunderland boss was quoted by the Sunderland Echo as saying: “Ross just rolled his ankle in the box. If you look at that one, that’s more contact than the one the referee’s ended up giving against Bailey. The precedent he’s set is just ridiculous.”
Sunderland are next in action on Tuesday night, when they travel to League One promotion rivals Wigan Athletic in the third round of the League Cup.
However, it seems Johnson will be cautious about using Stewart in that game, as he added: “I try not to pick a team too closely after a game because emotions are raw.
“You want to try to consider it, and you have to see how everybody is. Ross has picked up that knock, but Flanno is obviously back in contention.
“It’s a game we think we can mix up a little bit to get the balance of minutes for players but also go and try to get into the next round.”
It does seem sensible for Johnson and Sunderland to be sensible when it comes to selecting Stewart in the cup in midweek.
While a cup run would certainly be welcome for Sunderland, a successful push for promotion back to the Championship surely has to be the priority for the Black Cats this season.
As a result, given how important Stewart has been for Sunderland so far this season, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to risk making that injury worse by playing him on Tuesday, and potentially ruling him out of several league games.
Indeed, with the likes of Leon Dajaku and Nathan Broadhead available, there are other attackers available for Sunderland for Tuesday, who Johnson may be keen to give an opportunity to on Tuesday.