ROSS STEWART has been given a clean bill of health ahead of Sunderland’s return to League One action at home to Ipswich Town tomorrow.

Stewart has spent most of the last month battling against a shoulder issue that was sustained during a collision in the Carabao Cup win at QPR.

The problem had been gradually worsening prior to the start of the international break, but an injection has had a positive effect.

Stewart has been able to train fully this week and is set to lead the line as Sunderland look to get back to winning ways at the Stadium of Light.

“I think the break came at a good time,” said Black Cats head coach Lee Johnson. “We needed to recuperate. We needed to heal a few injuries, which I think has happened.

“The likes of Ross Stewart is a good example. He’d been playing and hanging on a little bit with a shoulder ligament injury. He then gets an injection and has looked extremely sharp.”

While Stewart’s situation has improved in the last fortnight, Lee Burge has suffered a hip flexor issue that has forced Johnson to recall Anthony Patterson from his loan spell at Notts County.

Thorben Hoffman will start against Ipswich tomorrow, with Patterson expected to be on the substitutes’ bench.

“We’ve obviously recalled Patto,” confirmed Johnson. “Lee has a hip problem at the moment. He actually had it at the start of the season as well.

“We wouldn’t expect him to be out for too long – it’s probably a seven-to-ten day injury – so we’ll just reassess when we have a decision to make on the back end of that.

“Potentially, Patto could go back out. I think its shows that development plan we’ve got for each individual player. It would have been easy to have kept Patto around as second or third choice, but he’s a bright good goalkeeper we think has a real potential to be a future number one, in which case that development is as important as protecting the first team’s chances of winning games.”