Out-on-loan Leeds United forward Joe Gelhardt has revealed he is relishing the challenge of stepping in for Sunderland star Ross Stewart after the Scotland striker was ruled out for the remainder of the season with an Achilles injury.
Gelhardt moved to the Stadium of Light on loan towards the end of the January transfer window which should see him play significant minutes for Tony Mowbray's side.
The promising 20-year-old enjoyed something of a breakthrough season last term for Leeds but had seen his minutes this term limited off the bench.
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The plan for the Black Cats was for Gelhardt to help take the goalscoring burden off Stewart, who had bagged an impressive 10 goals in 13 games prior to his injury.
However, just 48 hours after Gelhardt signed for Sunderland, Stewart had to be stretchered off against Fulham in the FA Cup, with his Achilles injury ending his season.
As a result, Sunderland, who sit on the outside of the Championship play-off places, now have just on out and out striker in Gelhardt, who made his debut for his new loan side on Saturday against Millwall.
And while the responsibility of leading the line for the Black Cats invites plenty of pressure, Gelhardt believes he is up to the challenge.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge, and there's pressure because Ross scored so many goals," Gelhardt told ChronicleLive.
"It's unfortunate that he has got injured but I'm in the team now and I like the pressure."
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