Sunderland boss has this verdict on Ross Stewart's full debut and progress at the club

Lee Johnson says Ross Stewart is 'finding his feet' after his full debut at Peterborough United, and has backed the striker to have a long-term impact at Sunderland.

Saturday, 10th April 2021, 9:00 am

Stewart partnered Charlie Wyke in the 1-1 draw on Easter Monday and while the Sunderland head coach has identified a number of areas for improvement, he says the former Ross County striker has all the attributes nedded to be a success at the club.

"I thought there were occasions where it went really well, there was a good knock-down for Charlie's volley early on," Johnson said.

"I think Ross Stewart has loads of potential.

Sunderland forward Ross Stewart

"He's not the finished article yet but he's a very good player. There's loads that I see in his game that I want to improve. Just for example, when we win the ball back in that midblock he's got to quickly open his shoulders so that we can actually play him in. At the moment he's quite closed off and in that scenario, he acts as another hold-up player which we don't need in that moment of transition.

"He's a bright kid, young and you've got to remember he's not come through top academies etc. He's come a different route and fought his way to get to a club like this.

"I've been really, really happy with him, he's lean, mobile and can get across people. He's good in the air and can finish. I think he's still finding his feet a little bit with the demands I'm putting on him."

Aiden O'Brien could return to the starting XI for the visit of Charlton Athletic, with Johnson saying the striker is fully recovered from a hamstring injury.

"It's been similar with him and Jordan Jones," Johnson said.

"You want to play them both because you want their qualities but you're also considering the game every two or three days.

"Aiden was unlucky really considering he was part of the match winning performance at Bristol Rovers.

"It's a decision you've got to make as a manager and these are the ones that keep you up at night, in a good way, because you've got so many players in form chomping at the bit to play."

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