Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats on Course to Go Up: Stewart

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cats on Course to Go Up: Stewart

Article excerpt

Byline: By Simon Rushworth

Marcus Stewart is confident Sunderland are on course to clinch automatic promotion this season ( just two matches into the new Coca-Cola Championship campaign.

The former Ipswich Town striker, in the final year of his Black Cats' contract, saw enough in Tuesday night's 3-1 victory against Crewe Alexandra to suggest Premiership football will return to Wearside next summer.

But a refreshingly candid Stewart made no secret of the fact that fellow forward Kevin Kyle holds the key to sustained success as the Scot grapples with the pain of a mystery injury.

"If we maintain the level of our performance against Crewe on Tuesday for the rest of the season then we'll end up in the top two," insisted the 31-year-old.

"I'm quite confident of that.

"We created so many chances and, although we missed too many, we still scored three goals and won the match comfortably.

"But it was important that Kevin started the game.

"Now we just have to hope he is wrapped in cotton wool until Queens Park Rangers visit the Stadium of Light."

Kyle managed 90 minutes against Crewe on Tuesday despite pre-match fears that he may require surgery to heal a persistent hip problem.

And, although the Scottish international is clearly troubled by an injury which successive scans have so far failed to pinpoint, he will be asked to play on until the root of his pain is identified. "Kevin played very well in midweek after what has been a difficult period for him," added Stewart.

"He didn't score but he created my goal against Crewe. He's been struggling with his hip injury for some time now but he's not in too much pain once he gets going.

"He suffered a bit after the game on Tuesday because he stiffens up as soon as he slows down.

"I would have thought he'll be wrapped in cotton wool between now and Queen's Park Rangers in the hope that he'll deliver the same performance on Saturday, but with a goal for good measure. …

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