Lee Johnson gives Ross Stewart fitness update and delivers verdict on Sunderland's January transfer window
Lee Johnson says Ross Stewart should join the Sunderland squad in full training next week as he makes good progress in his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Stewart’s last appearance for Ross County came on December 23rd, but he is nearing a return to fill fitness.
Johnson says he won’t take any chances with the 24-year-old, who signed a two-and-a-half year deal on Wearside last Sunday.
Stewart was not involved on Tuesday night as Sunderland booked their place in the semi final of the Papa John’s Trophy with a 3-0 win at MK Dons, though fellow January recruit Jordan Jones made his full debut.
“We’re being careful with him,” Johnson said.
"While we’ve got good players in the squad, performing well, we don’t want to rush him with a hamstring injury.
“He’s moving well, but he has to tick all the boxes.
“Best-case scenario, he will probably train with the squad on Monday but at the same time I will definitely keep the reins on him to make sure he is going to be OK.
“But I am delighted to bring him in.”
Sunderland’s head coach said the club had a ‘really good window’, having made four additions and moved out five players.
One of those, Elliot Embleton, signed a contract extension before sealing a short-term loan move to Blackpool.
Johnson said it has been a good start to the week on Wearside; one that has left him optimistic about the future.
"I think we’ve had a really good window," Johnson said.
“We’ve moved players out and that’s never easy, and we wish them all the very best as Kristjaan [Speakman]. has done in his statements, but it has just been good to refresh the squad with four very good players that we believe will help us and which add a bit more competition and dynamicism to our play.
“It’s been a good start to the week. I’m really enjoying it at Sunderland.
“Yes, I’d like a few more wins and we have to keep on improving but I have to say it’s a really good football club and with potential new ownership on the horizon, I believe we can really kick on, whether that be short, medium, or long-term.”