Sunderland transfer news: Kevin Phillips makes Ross Stewart claim amid Charlie Wyke interest

Kevin Phillips makes bold claim about Sunderland's Ross Stewart amid Charlie Wyke interest

Sunderland will be looking to build up some momentum ahead of the play-offs by securing victory over Northampton Town this weekend.

Having halted their woeful run of form in League One by beating Plymouth Argyle last Saturday, the Black Cats could potentially climb up to third in standings on the final day of the season if they better Blackpool's result.

With top-scorer Charlie Wyke facing a race to be fit for this clash, Sunderland may have to turn to Ross Stewart for inspiration at the Stadium of Light in their showdown with the Cobblers.

Impressive during the Black Cats' triumph over Plymouth, the forward helped his side clinch all three points on their travels by scoring at Home Park.

Due to Wyke's presence, Stewart has been limited to 11 league appearances for Sunderland since his move from Ross County in January.

However, having produced a promising display in his team-mate's absence, the forward will now be determined to play a major role in the club's push for promotion in the coming weeks.

Making reference to Stewart, former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips has insisted that he could be a ready-made replacement for Wyke at this level if the 28-year-old decides to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract next month.

Wyke is understood to be attracting interest from Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Millwall and Middlesbrough ahead of the upcoming transfer window.

Speaking to Football Insider about Stewart, Phillips said: "At the end of the day, if Charlie Wyke leaves, Sunderland need someone to step up and fill the void.

"If Sunderland weren't to go up, Wyke will more than likely move on and in Stewart they have a ready-made replacement.

"When I see that finish the other night [against Plymouth], there is no reason why he cannot step up next season."

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Whilst Stewart has only been able to illustrate glimpses of his ability since arriving at the Stadium of Light, he may turn out to be a shrewd signing by Sunderland if he makes considerable strides in terms of his development in the coming months.

However, when you consider that he has only scored on two occasions for the club, he still has a lot of work to do to reach Wyke's level as his team-mate's tally of 25 goals has only been bettered by Peterborough United's Jonson Clarke-Harris in League One this season.

Regardless of what division Sunderland find themselves in next season, it is imperative that they do everything in their power to convince Wyke to stay as Stewart may not be ready to lead the line.

If Wyke does depart, Johnson ought to consider drafting in a forward who has a proven track-record of delivering the goods at this level as it could force Stewart to step up his performance levels during the upcoming campaign.

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