Ross Stewart opens up on his goalscoring frustrations, Lynden Gooch's role and Sunderland's Rotherham motivation

Ross Stewart admits he was as frustrated as anybody during his eight-match goalscoring drought but insists the team’s results are the most important thing.

Stewart hadn’t scored since the end of February but netted a brace in Sunderland’s 5-1 win over Cambridge, taking his league tally to 24 this season.

"I was certainly aware of it and was probably just as frustrated as anybody,” Stewart told the Echo when asked about his unwanted run.

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“As strikers you want to be scoring goals but at the same time the team have been winning games.

Ross Stewart plalying for Sunderland against Cambridge. Picture by FRANK REID

“When you are winning games that takes over the mood of the camp and that is the most important thing winning games.

“I think we are unbeaten in 10 or 11 now, getting back amongst the goals, and on top of that getting another important win sets us up for Tuesday.”

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Stewart has started all 44 league games for Sunderland this season and played more minutes than any attacking player in League One.

That led to Black Cats boss Alex Neil claiming the frontman had been ‘flogged’ this season, following the side’s goalless draw at Plymouth.

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When asked about those comments, Stewart replied: “I think probably the Plymouth one with the travelling et cetera maybe as a team we were maybe more jaded than what we had been.

“After that we had a couple of days off and I think you saw that we came back refreshed with a lot of tempo to our play.

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“I have played a lot of games, more than I’ve played in my career, but that’s what you want to do as a player and I’m never going to put my hand up and say I’m tired. I want to help the team as much as I can.”

Stewart also benefited from Lynden Gooch’s crosses into the box against Plymouth, with the wideman racking up two assists from the right.

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“It was something we had worked on Thursday, Friday in training and something the gaffer had pointed out that he doesn’t think we crossed the ball enough,” added Stewart.

“Goochy was excellent, the quality of his delivery on a number of occasions was on the money and we got a couple of goals from it.

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“Myself, I’m a bit frustrated with a couple that were on my head but just the fact that the deliveries are coming in as a striker is what you want. You want to be causing defenders trouble and trying to get on the end of things.

“I think we got a lot of joy from that and that showed with the number of goals we scored.”

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Stewart will now hope to build on his performance against Cambridge when Sunderland host promotion-chasing Rotherham on Tuesday, a side which beat the Black Cats 5-1 back in October.

“For the boys that played that will certainly be motivation,” said Stewart when reflecting on that fixture. “At the same time you can’t let that overtake what’s there.

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“We will try to prepare for that game, come up with tactics on how we can hurt them and stop them hurting us.

“We will just look forward to it because this season when you are playing for something it puts an edge on these fixtures.”