Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has confirmed that Ross Stewart rejected the chance to join teams in the Championship in order to seal a move to the club earlier this year.
The 25-year-old forward initially made a slow start to his spell at the Stadium of Light as his game-time was limited by the presence of Charlie Wyke who finished the previous campaign as the Black Cats’ top-scorer.
However, Wyke decided to turn down the opportunity to stay at Sunderland in the summer as he opted instead to move to Wigan Athletic.
Instead of splashing the cash on a new striker, Johnson opted to give Stewart the opportunity to prove himself in League One.
This particular gamble has paid off as the forward has managed to set the third-tier alight with his attacking displays for Sunderland.
Stewart took his overall goal tally for the 2021/22 season to seven yesterday as he netted a brace in the Black Cats’ 5-0 victory over Cheltenham Town.
With his side set to face Portsmouth this weekend, the forward will be determined to deliver another eye-catching performance for the Black Cats at Fratton Park.
As reported by Sunderland Echo journalist James Copley on Twitter, Lee Johnson has revealed that Stewart decided to move to the club despite interest from Championship sides.
Sunderland supporters will be grateful that Stewart opted to join their club as he has emerged as a key player in the opening stages of the current campaign.
As well as scoring seven goals for the Black Cats in the third-tier, the forward has won 6.7 aerial duels per game and is currently averaging a WhoScored match rating of 7.92 in this division.
Providing that Stewart is able to maintain his fitness as well as his consistency in the coming months, he could potentially spearhead a push for promotion.
When you consider that Portsmouth have conceded nine goals in their last five league games, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Stewart adds to his goal tally at Fratton Park on Saturday.