ROSS STEWART is a big fan of Lee Johnson’s attempts to lower the average age of the Sunderland squad this summer – and is confident a lack of senior experience will not be a barrier to the club achieving success this season.

The Black Cats’ youth drive reached its crescendo on deadline day last week with the capture of 22-year-old goalkeeper Thorben Hoffman and 20-year-old forward Leon Dajaku on season-long loans.

The duo followed Callum Doyle, Frederik Alves, Niall Huggins and Nathan Broadhead through the entrance door at the Stadium of Light, and with Johnson also selecting the likes Anthony Patterson, Dan Neil and Elliot Embleton, Sunderland could well find themselves naming the youngest team in League One in a majority of their matches this season.

Stewart is something of an elder statesman at the age of 25, and while the Scot is still finding his feet in League One himself after only moving from Ross County in January, he is excited to be part of such of a youthful squad.

“Age is not a factor,” said the striker, who has scored four goals in his opening five games of the League One season. “If you’re good enough, you play games.

“Everybody that’s in that starting XI is there on merit at the minute. The young lads started the season really well, and we’ve got a great mix of youth and experience in there. I think that helps the younger lads.

“The team is playing really well, and with the gaffer’s style, everybody knows what’s expected of them. With all that mixing together and combining, I think you’re seeing a really good team at the minute.

“It’s just down to us now to keep building. It’s been a really good start, and if we can keep playing like we did in the last game, and how we’ve played in previous games this season, then I’m sure we can go on and win a lot of games this year.”

Sunderland did not have a game at the weekend because of international call-ups, but they remain on top of the table after Oxford lost 3-1 at AFC Wimbledon.

“There’s pros and cons to it (not playing),” added Stewart. “It’s nice to get a couple of days break because it’s been a really hectic start for us, twice a week since the season started.

“But at the same time, when you’re on that winning run, you just want the games to keep coming and keep winning. It’s probably a mixed bag, but it is what it is. We’ll use it, take the wee rest period, and be ready for Saturday (against Accrington).”