PROMOTED Southampton striker Billy Sharp admitted he "really likes" Scottish forward Ross Stewart.

Stewart's first season on the South Coast has been hit by injury. His second half cameo against West Brom on Sunday was only his fourth appearance.

The former Sunderland man arrived at the club with an Achilles injury and suffered a setback just weeks after his initial return to fitness.

Stewart was a handful at The Hawthorns - where his side drew 0-0 - and almost scored from his first Southampton shot.

Speaking on Sky Sports, Sharp gave his verdict on the summer signing, saying: "I really like him as a player.

"When he comes on the pitch, he’ll give another attacking threat to Southampton.”

Daily Echo: Billy Sharp scored nine goals in 15 Championship games for SouthamptonBilly Sharp scored nine goals in 15 Championship games for Southampton

Martin admitted that Stewart is closer to starting his first game in a Saints shirt since making a big-money move from Sunderland.

However, former Watford striker Troy Deeney feels it is still too early for the "influential" Stewart to start.

"Not with the amount of time he has been out," he explained. "For him, it’s about playing regularly, training and feeling good again. 

"When you have been out for a long time like most of us have done, it takes you about five or six weeks to get up to speed.”

"It will just be about being available, trying to add to the next game, and if they get to the final, try to give as much as he can for as long as he can. 

"It will be about pre-season, making sure his off-season plan is ready, depending on what league they are in, firing and ready to help Southampton.”