Southampton's Boss reveals plans for Stewart in West Brom . . .
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Southampton’s Boss reveals plans for Stewart in West Brom playoff.

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Southampton boss Russell Martin has revealed his ambitions for summer signing Ross Stewart, who returned from injury against Leeds United on Saturday.

The striker’s last 16 months have been as terrible as you could anticipate.

A major Achilles injury sustained while playing for Sunderland against Fulham in January 2023, followed by another issue, this time with his hamstring, on his second appearance for Southampton, just over two weeks after returning from the previous injury; things don’t get much worse for professional athletes.

So, after only two appearances in over a year and a half, Stewart has finally made what is hoped to be his full comeback, and it has arrived just on time.

Southampton will face West Bromwich Albion in the play-offs, giving them one last shot for promotion this season. The Scotsman has a strong playoff record, which Martin thinks will aid the team’s postseason run.

The manager has highlighted Stewart’s next actions to ensure he is properly prepared for the play-offs.

Russell Martin lays out Ross Stewart plans

According to the Daily Echo, Martin has stated that Stewart’s training will “step up” this week as they prepare for their trip to the Hawthorns on Sunday.

He also applauded the 27-year-old’s efforts to be fit for this stage of the season.

“When we played against Stoke last Saturday, he was with us for an hour and ten minutes that morning, training like a beast and getting worked,” said the manager.

“The whole session was built around him doing everything he needs to do in a game for as long as he possibly could. He’s really good and he’s really open to everything. He’s just desperate to be on the pitch and now it’s about keeping him ready and upping it again this week.

“But we need to do that to the point where we know he is as controlled as he can be and stays fit.”

Martin added: “The lads applauded him in the dressing room after the game at Leeds.

“He could be a really important player for us in the next three games. He can have a big impact and he’s just desperate to be on the pitch.

“He’s had such a tough time. I feel so sorry for him because he’s such a good guy and such a good pro. But now he has a chance to really impact our season at the most important time and I think he will.”

Ross Stewart’s play-off acumen is a boost for Southampton

The post-season can be both strange and amazing, and it’s always beneficial to have folks in the locker room who have been there and experienced it firsthand. There isn’t much of that in the Saints’ locker room, but Stewart brings it.

His playoff record is unquestioned. He has six goals in his last eight games at this stage of the season, including one in Sunderland’s win against Wycombe Wanderers two seasons ago, which propelled them to the second tier.

Stewart cannot be expected to start the opening leg, given Adam Armstrong’s form and the 27-year-old’s less-than-dependable health. That bench experience might be a great asset for Southampton if things get tight, which they frequently do.

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