Stephen Elliott: Sunderland ace Ross Stewart can finish the season as League One top scorer

I was slightly worried about the game on Saturday at Wycombe.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 2:53 pm

Listen, don’t get me wrong I genuinely feel Sunderland are in the best form of their current stay in the third tier but with the possibility of a big chunk of the first team squad going to be missing it could have potentially been a tough afternoon.

When I saw the actual starting line-up though, that feeling of worry definitely deteriorated.

With Alex Pritchard, Lynden Gooch, Elliot Embleton and Ross Stewart in the team I believed the team would once again produce goals and have enough to go and win the game.

Sign up to our Sunderland AFC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland striker Ross Stewart.

Gooch, especially, has to be given huge credit for the way he has turned his form around.

I questioned a few weeks back whether he had become a bit stale at this club in recent weeks but he seems to have found that spark again and alongside Embleton and Pritchard offers Sunderland some real potent quality in attack.

Ross Stewart is starting to look like he could finish the season as the league’s top goalscorer.

He will count himself unlucky not to have walked away with another match ball after his hat-trick against Sheffield Wednesday a few weeks back. That first goal should have been given to him.

His movement on Saturday was top class and he must be feeling very confident at the moment that he will score a couple every game. We better hope he can stay fit and healthy.

There is no doubt that Pritchard is starting to love being a Sunderland footballer. I said at the start of the season if he can stay fit then he could end up being the signing of the season.

He is a class apart at this level and to be quite frank he is unplayable at the moment. He has it all. He can dribble, see a pass, recover the ball out of possession and as we have seen, he can also get a goal.

The biggest compliment I can give him is that since Aiden McGeady has been injured, nobody has really mentioned in-depth when the Irish international will be back.

I hope he can continue this form as he seems to have built a really good relationship with the three players mentioned above.

On the downside, there is always one, I felt Sunderland will be hugely disappointed that they didn’t come away with three points.

Sunderland were by far the better team and will be kicking themselves that they are not sitting on top of the table by themselves after conceding a late goal after working so hard to get in front.

I think Bailey Wright was a bit of a miss Saturday and would have been slightly better equipped to deal with powerful Wycombe striker Sam Vokes.

Gareth Ainsworth's side were very direct and with Wright not in the team I felt it gave them a bit more of a boost to go that bit more longer with their passes.

All is not lost though, and the unbeaten run continues.

There is another big game on Tuesday and if Sunderland produce a performance even half as good as the previous home game against Sheffield Wednesday then it should be another comfortable evening for Lee Johnson’s men.

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor