Can Joe Gelhardt fill Ross Stewart’s Boots?

Sunderland striker Ross Stewart is set to miss the rest of the season after picking up his second serious injury of the campaign in the Black Cats’ FA Cup tie at Fulham on Saturday.

Supporters will now look to new addition Joe Gelhardt to fill the void left by Tony Mowbray’s top scorer following his arrival on loan from Leeds United on Friday.

How do the two forwards compare?

Ross Stewart

2J98GJ3 Sunderland’s Ross Stewart celebrates with the trophy after the Sky Bet League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday May 21, 2022.

While Stewart is currently injured, his stats still impress. For example, during matches he has over the season won 49% of his aerial duels. Without the Scotsman Sunderland will miss some aerial prowess and may need to change their style of play. They will also miss Stewart’s shooting ability as he has 61% shot accuracy with 1.6 on target per-game. These stats do prove how crucial Stewart was to Sunderland’s promotion push this season considering the narrow margins in the Championship.

Joe Gelhardt

2JJ39M1 Perth, Australia, 22 July, 2022. Joe Gelhardt of Leeds United controls the ball during the ICON Festival of International Football match between Crystal Palace and Leeds United at Optus Stadium on July 22, 2022 in Perth, Australia. Credit: Graham Conaty/Speed Media/Alamy Live News

While originally signed as what could be Stewart’s apprentice, Gelhardt now must take the mantle and pressure of being Sunderland’s leading man and help them with their promotion push. Unlike Stewart, he isn’t an aerial threat with only him winning only 33% of his aerial duels and also struggles to get in the box with only two shots per game with 1.6 shots on target per game. However, Sunderland need not worry as he will add versatility as he tends find more space on the wings and his ability to score with both feet.

The two side by side

While Stewart may look to be the better and more complete striker on paper, Gelhardt will still bring something to the Wearside squad with his pace and his one and one ability with an average of two successful dribbles a game. So while Stewart will be missed during his serious injury, Black Cat supporters should be eager to see if Gelhardt can cut the mustard and match or even exceed Stewart’s tally of 10 goals in 13 games this season.