Southampton summer signing Ross Stewart could be in line to make his debut for the club on Saturday afternoon for the visit of West Bromwich Albion to St Mary’s.
Southampton manager Russell Martin has told the club’s supporters not to expect too much too soon from Ross Stewart after he returned to competitive action last week.
The 27-year-old striker has not played a senior match since January after suffering an Achilles tendon injury while playing for Sunderland in the FA Cup against Fulham.
Stewart then left Wearside over the summer and joined Southampton, with the Scottish international making his injury return against the Black Cats during an Under-21s clash on Friday night. The forward managed 45 minutes on the pitch and even opened the scoring before Sunderland came back to win 2-1.
He’s now edging closer to a senior debut for Saints, with this weekend’s Championship clash with West Bromwich Albion at St Mary’s earmarked by Martin and his coaching staff as a good match for Stewart to feature in.
“Firstly, it is a huge moment for him as a person because he has been out for a long time and anyone can see how hard he has worked since he has been here,” said the Southampton boss following Stewart’s goal for the Under-21s.
“I have no doubt that he had the same mentality when he was at Sunderland to try and get fit. He has had a couple of setbacks along the way which is to be expected with such a long-term injury.
“For him as a lad and a person, I am really delighted. Selfishly for us as a group of coaches and a squad, it is a brilliant moment for us because he is going to contribute a lot. I don’t think we should expect too much too soon from him. He has been out a long while.”
On Stewart’s goal for the Under-21s, Martin added: “It is a goal that is typical of him. He runs to the box, attacks it and it is a great finish. I am sure that will get supporters excited and expecting a lot. I think we have to be patient. It will be really nice to get him back before the international break. Hopefully, now he has a good week training with us and we can include him in the squad next week.”
Saints currently sit fourth in the Championship table following last weekend’s 1-0 win over Millwall. The Baggies are one point and one place below them in fifth meanwhile, making Saturday’s clash a hugely important one for both sides as they look to close the gap to automatic promotion.
Following that match, Southampton will have two weeks without a match due to the November international break, giving Stewart more time to get his fitness back up and have a big impact on the rest of Saints’ season.