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James Hunter

Ross Stewart's injury means Ellis Simms' return to Sunderland would be 'huge', says Tony Mowbray

Ross Stewart's injury could prompt a fresh push from Sunderland to bring Ellis Simms back to Wearside - with Tony Mowbray saying the Everton striker's return on loan would be 'huge' for the Black Cats. Sunderland suffered a devastating injury blow in yesterday's 1-1 draw at Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round when Stewart departed on a stretcher with a serious Achilles injury, which Mowbray said could be a tear that would rule his top scorer out for 'a long, long, time'.

Simms spent the first half of the season on loan at Sunderland, scoring seven goals in 17 Championship outings, before he was recalled by Premier League strugglers Everton at the beginning of January, which left Stewart as the Black Cats' only out-and-out striker. And they had only just managed to sign a second frontman as competition and cover for Stewart, landing Leeds United's Joe Gelhardt on loan on Friday, when injury struck.

They now need to go back into the transfer market to bring in another striker, and Simms remains a possibility if Everton - who are expected to confirm Sean Dyche as their new manager following the sacking of Frank Lampard last week - decide to let him out on loan again. "I don't do that side of it," said Mowbray, when asked whether Stewart's injury might lead to Simms' return.

READ MORE: Ross Stewart could be out for a 'long, long time' admits Tony Mowbray as he gives an injury update

"I'm the coach of the team, I don't manage this football club. I have people around me who do all that work.

"But Ellis Simms, if he comes back, would be huge for this football club because he would give us a focal point at the top end of the pitch. He scored some massively important goals before he was recalled by Everton.

"There are a few days [of the transfer window] to go, and I'm assuming Sean [Dyche] will soon have his feet under the desk at Everton - although I haven't seen the actual announcement of that. Whether they make a quick decision on Ellis Simms, I don't know.

"If they bring another striker in and Ellis is allowed to come back it would be a appropriate for our team because it would give us a focal point and he scores goals like he did while he was with us."

Simms has played a total of just 15 minutes of football in two Premier League appearances since being brought back to Goodison Park, and Everton are looking to recruit another striker before the transfer window shuts on Tuesday. If they do add another striker, Simms' first team chances at Everton would be severely limited.

And because he has played for both Sunderland and Everton this season, FIFA rules mean he cannot play for any other club this season which would make a return to Wearside the only option if he does not stay on Merseyside.


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