Sunderland striker Ross Stewart has told Chronicle Live that both he and his teammates will look to use their play-off heart break to achieve success next season after the Black Cats lost out to Lincoln City in the semi finals over the weekend.
Stewart was on the scoresheet for the home side as they looked to overturn a 2-0 deficit from the first leg, with the Scotsman’s goal and Charlie Wyke’s first half finish levelling the scores on aggregate at 2-2 heading into the break at the Stadium of Light.
However it was the visitors who would go on to progress through to the final as Tom Hopper’s second half header, just south of the hour mark secured the Imps a trip to Wembley Stadium, where they will take on Blackpool who saw off Oxford United in the other semi final.
Now Stewart has called on his side to use their shortfall as motivation to achieve greater success next term, with the former Ross County man stating the following:
“It’s huge. That dressing room in there is hurting, myself included. It will take a few days to wear off but once it does, I’ll certainly be using it as motivation to come back next season.
What club do these 21 former Sunderland players ply their trade at now?
“I don’t want to have that same feeling that’s in that dressing room. Hopefully the season next year can be one filled with success.”
The 24-year-old has found the net on three occasions since signing for the club in January of this year and will be looking to add to his tally heading into the new season in the North East.
You have to respect the degree of positivity that Stewart is outputting at such a dark time for everyone connected with Sunderland and he could well be a key figure for the club moving into next season.
They are now set for a fourth straight campaign at League One level and there is a growing feeling that they need to secure an automatic promotion next year in order to get out of it after suffering their fair share of play-off heartache.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that there is so much potential for the club to grow and get itself back to where it once was.
Lee Johnson has a hell of a job on his hands but I don’t think there are many managers who are better equipped at this level to get them up.