Saints fans raised an eyebrow or two when the club signed Ross Stewart, a player who had been out of action since the start of the year, but now Russell Martin has set the fans expectations of when he will be seen in action.
Ross Stewart is still not quite ready to return to full training, back in August Sunderland manager Tony Mowbray was suggesting that he was looking to get his then striker back in action after the September International break, I suggested then that I thought that given he was not yet back in full training with the Mackems, that target was perhaps a little unreasonable and that late September would be more likely, given that you would expect that after being out since January, he would need at least four weeks of full training before he was ready to play a game.
But Mowbray’s schedule now seems unrealistic as Russell Martin has revealed that Stewart is still some way off of even a return to full squad training let alone playing a game.
The Daily Echo reported that Martin hinted that after the October International break as he had this to say on the players recovery.
“He is on the grass and he is with the rehab physio and Bill (Styles) the rehab sports scientist.
“It will take as long as it takes for us to get him to a place where we know he can be there and stay there, rather than trying to dip him in too quickly and then lose him.
“I think we have to be sensible. I’m really excited about getting him in. He is massive and a great guy. I tried to sign him before, as you know. He will be brilliant for us.
“I think he’s enjoying being around the lads. He’s been in every meeting, but he just has to train on a different pitch, unfortunately.
“When he gets to a point where he is ready, you guys will know about it. I just don’t want to put a timescale on it.
“He is in a really good place. Maybe this next bulk of five (six) games is going to be difficult to get him to a place where he can really kick on.
“Then we have a break, which I think will suit him really well for the timescale of his rehab.
“He is desperate to be let off the leash. He has been out for a while and he is desperate to prove to everyone that he deserves to be here.”
So it seems that Stewart won’t be anywhere near playing a game for at least another 4 weeks, but I would say even that is optimistic given that he is still not ready to return to full training, as mentioned he has been out for a long period, certain muscles will have lost a lot of strength and power and will take time to build up, only a certain amount of that can be done outside of full training and playing matches.
If Russell Martin had told us that Stewart had returned to full time training this week, I would have thought it optimistic that he would be ready straight after the international break, there would need to be matches in the B team first, so I would say that we will be looking at the start of November minimum before he pulls on a first team shirt.
This is not to criticise the club for buying a player who is injured, he is a proven goal scorer at this level and we are going to have to score a lot of goals this season as we are struggling to stop them at the other end.
I look forward to seeing Ross Stewart in action for Saints and I think that he could be a key element in pushing us on as the season progresses.