Sunderland boss Mowbray backs Stewart for new deal after legend claim

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Sunderland star Ross Stewart is facing plenty of interest this summer (Image: Getty Images)
Sunderland star Ross Stewart is facing plenty of interest this summer (Image: Getty Images)

Tony Mowbray has told star striker Ross Stewart to sign a new deal at Sunderland - and get a bar named after him like Niall Quinn.

The Mackems boss is hoping Stewart - mired in contract talks with his deal up next June - will commit long term because he can be a fan’s hero. Mowbray says he is asked one question everywhere he goes: “Are we getting promoted this year?”

Last season they only faltered in the play off semi final against Luton, after a remarkable season blighted by injury but lit up by stylish forward play. Stewart was injured for most of the campaign but netted 11 goals in 15 appearances when fit. He’s due to return from injury in September, but his contract expired this season.

Sunderland have lost Man United loan star Amad Diallo but brought in Bradley Dack who’s already linking well with Patrick Roberts. Stewart’s return will be key. Mowbray added: “Utopia would be that he signs a long-term contract and he stays – we’re sitting here in Quinn’s Bar – and we could have the Stewart Bar somewhere down the line.

“Ross was almost scoring a goal a game. Regardless of contractual situations, unless he gets sold in the next month and the phone is not ringing off the hook, I’m hoping that he can play for us and win some football matches.

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“Then let’s see if he signs a new deal, because if he sees we are winning and he’s enjoying it, we’re scoring, the fans are signing his name, who’s to say a new contract isn’t somewhere down the line?

“That possibility is always there while he’s still here. It’s an amazing place to play football. We probably just need to make him feel valued and enjoying playing for a big club.

Sunderland boss Mowbray backs Stewart for new deal after legend claimRoss Stewart saw his 2022/23 campaign hampered by injury (Getty Images)

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“It’s not all about who can pay you the most money and I don’t say that flippantly, at a time of Saudi Arabian money, I just hope for the fans Ross can get something sorted out, somewhere down the line.

“If he decides to move on, he moves on. He understands it, he’s a bright man. He understands his worth – you could say he’s only played 13 times in the Championship in his whole career, so how do we know he can do it?

“Well, he scored 10 goals in those games. Physical, big, lean, direct, scores headers, gets in behind, scores tap-ins, he’s always between the sticks, he’s a really good footballer.”

Mowbray said: “On the back of last season I think there’s an expectation. But I think the league genuinely is stronger with Leicester, Southampton, Leeds, but even Ipswich and Sheffield Wednesday are huge clubs with huge fanbases, never mind Middlesbrough, Norwich, Watford and West Brom. It’s a tough league.

“Did last season make this more difficult? Probably. We finished the season pretty strongly but if we’d lost the last two games we’d have finished 12th. We won them and finished sixth. It’s hugely competitive and I think it’ll be the same. I hope we’re part of it. Last year we’ve shown we can propel ourselves. The fanbase is huge, everywhere we go.”

Simon Bird

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