FORMER Saint Carlton Palmer believes the "gamble" to sign Ross Stewart hasn't paid off after the Scot's latest injury blow.

Stewart spent the first few months of his time at Southampton working his way back from an Achilles injury he suffered at Sunderland.

Upon making his recovery he made two appearances for Saints before sustaining an injury setback which will keep him out until the end of 2023.

Luckily for Stewart and Saints his latest knock is a muscle-related injury rather than a repeat of the Achilles injury that kept him out for 10 months.

“It’s bad news, really bad news for Southampton with the latest injury to Ross Stewart," Palmer told Football League World.

“I always thought this was a gamble, it wasn’t just a hamstring injury or something like that, it was an Achilles tendon injury. He was going to be on the sidelines for some considerable time.

Daily Echo: Ross Stewart made his Saints debut against West Brom on Saturday

“I know they jumped the gun because they believed other clubs would be looking for his signature, but I don’t think anyone would have signed him until he had proven his fitness.

“Achilles injuries are very hard to recover from, and hopefully Ross will come back from them, but they’re long-term.

"So, it was a huge blow for the manager, after the club spent £10m on signing Stewart, and he may need to go to the board and convince them to give him money to buy another striker.

“They’re going very well in the Championship, they’ve got a real chance of automatic promotion. Hopefully, the board will understand, they obviously took a gamble, and it hasn’t worked out."

Saints will be without Stewart and fellow forward Kamaldeen Sulemana when they travel to Watford's Vicarage Road on Saturday.