Praise for Stewart
Sunderland signed Ross County striker Ross Stewart at the weekend, spending around £300,000 on the 24-year-old.
One of his former managers, Kilwinning Rangers boss Chris Strain, has been speaking to the Daily Record about a player he brought to his club just five years ago.
When he signed him from Ardeer Thistle, Strain explained that Stewart was very modest and how his coaches at the Scottish club could not believe he had signed him:
Ross was very, very raw back then but he had a good first touch and physicality so that was a good start.
I remember Stuart Wilson and Alan Mahood looking at me like I had two heads when I brought him in but I was convinced Ross could play full-time football.
When Ross signed he told me he wasn’t a good finisher or good in the air but his attitude was always first class and he listened and learned and got better and better.
Strain pointed to Premier League striker Oli McBurnie as someone with a similar style to Stewart and believes the new Sunderland forward can follow in the footsteps of the Sheffield United man by reaching the top flight:
I look at guys like Oli McBurnie playing in the Premiership and think if he can do it, so can Ross.
He’s got a similar physicality, he’s very athletic with a good bit of pace about him and I think he will be a late developer because of his size.
I’ve no doubt he can do well with Sunderland in League One and if he does, you can’t rule anything out.
Stewart would eventually arrive in the Scottish League, thanks to a move to Albion Rovers –and the player’s father had to stump up a third of the £1,500 transfer fee to ensure his son’s move to the cash-strapped club:
To say we tried to stand in Ross’s way is just not true, we quite rightly wanted a suitable fee for him and the truth is Rovers got him for an absolute snip at £1,500.
There aren‘t many Ross Stewarts kicking about, that’s for sure. I’m still trying to find the next one!
It says more about Rovers than us that Ross’s dad had to part fund the transfer.
His former captain at Ross County, Iain Vigurs, speaking to BT, said Stewart could not turn down a move to Sunderland but says that his team’s recent performances – that came while the striker was out injured – showed that they can cope without him:
Well, it is a great move for Ross and one that he could never turn down but he has not been playing of late anyway and performances against Hibs and Aberdeen, he wasn’t involved.
So there is still life after Ross Stewart even though having him in our squad would have been a huge benefit as well.
Oli Shaw’s scoring exploits of late have been really good so we are going to miss him but as of late we haven’t missed him too much because as I say we have had some great results without him.
Lynch joins Bolton on trial
Former Sunderland defender Joel Lynch has joined League Two club Bolton Wanderers on trial as he looks to earn a permanent deal.
Lynch has not played a competitive game since the penultimate game before the lockdown which ended the 2019-20 season, when he came on as a last-minute substitute in Sunderland’s 2-2 draw against Gillingham.
He has spent time on trial with Charlton Athletic and Southend United without earning a contract but Bolton boss Ian Evatt explained to the Bolton News that the trialist has a chance to earn a place in his squad:
It doesn’t depend on anyone going out, we have four players with Alex Baptiste, Ricardo Santos, Ryan Delaney and Reiss Greenidge, and he can add to that number providing he is what we think he is.
He has had a very good career so we will see how that develops.
Vergini to head out on loan
Santiago Vergini has been out of favour at his current club San Lorenzo and was not in the squad yesterday as a San Lorenzo team featuring the likes of Gino Peruzzi, Fabricio Coloccini and Franco Di Santo beat Atletico Tucuman 3-1 in a pre-season friendly.
News emerged after the game, via TNT, that the former Sunderland defender will now head his club’s opponents from yesterday on a season-long loan deal.
Vergini signed for San Lorenzo from Turkish outfit Bursaspor but has struggled for playing time and the 32-year-old will now join the 10th club of his long career.