SUNDERLAND inter­im man­ag­er Mike Dodds expressed his sym­pa­thy for Ross Stew­art, admit­ting: “I know how much he will be hurt­ing right now.”

Stew­art arrived at Southamp­ton from Sun­der­land dur­ing the sum­mer trans­fer win­dow but spent his first few months on the south coast out injured.

The 27 year old made his return to foot­ball against Sun­der­land’s under-21s in the Pre­mier League 2 before Cham­pi­onship cameos against West Brom and Hud­der­s­field.

Stew­art suf­fered a mus­cle injury in that away trip to Hud­der­s­field which looks like­ly to keep him out until the end of the sea­son.

An update from Rus­sell Mar­tin ear­li­er this month con­firmed that the Scot has stepped up his rehab but remains unlike­ly to return this cam­paign unless Southamp­ton’s sea­son is extend­ed.

He told the Dai­ly Echo: “I don’t think there is any expec­ta­tion on Ross to play at any point. He is jog­ging again now but we just have to be patient and take our time with him.” 

Daily Echo: Ross Stewart is unlikely to return for Saints this seasonRoss Stew­art is unlike­ly to return for Saints this sea­son (Image: Stu­art Mar­tin)

Dodds, who has been at Sun­der­land since 2021 expressed his sym­pa­thy for Stew­art, who he worked with before the Scot­tish inter­na­tion­al depart­ed the Sta­di­um of Light.

“I have a lot of love and respect for Ross Stew­art,” Dodds said about the strik­er’s recent injury issues. “Not only was he a good foot­baller for this club but he is a great lad.

“He turned up every day with a smile on his face. He worked real­ly, real­ly hard.  I’ll be hon­est, I am absolute­ly gut­ted and dev­as­tat­ed for him.

“I know how much he will be hurt­ing right now. He wants to play foot­ball and I know he has had a year or so of being out and not being in a great place.

“So I do real­ly wish him all the best and I hope he is back on the grass play­ing as soon as pos­si­ble. I have noth­ing but good things to say about Ross.”