Marcus has faith in Ipswich plight

MARCUS Stewart - the man who once helped propel Ipswich Town into the Premiership back in 2000 - believes the club's current squad has too much quality to be relegated.

Stuart Watson

By Stuart Watson

MARCUS Stewart - the man who once helped propel Ipswich Town into the Premiership back in 2000 believes the club's current squad has too much quality to be relegated.

The 37-year-old Exeter City player/coach returns to East Anglia today to face Colchester United in League One, but the Bristolian reserved a few words of support for his former club just up the A12.

“I think their position in the table has surprised everyone,” said Stewart.

“I don't care who the manager is; everyone is judged on results and if they don't start getting some then I am sure he (Roy Keane) will be under pressure.

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“He's got a track record though - obviously he got Sunderland promoted from that league - and I am sure they will turn it around.

“I played with one or two of their new players at Sunderland and they will bring a lot of quality to the team. I remember Grant Leadbitter especially being a very good player.

“Sometimes it just takes a bit of time for a new side to come together and, as I said, I'm sure Ipswich will come good.”

Stewart's February signing from Huddersfield back in 2000 proved the catalyst in Ipswich's promotion to the top-flight that campaign, and he went on to score 21 goals the following season as the Suffolk club finished fifth in a memorable Premiership campaign.

The Portman Road favourite left for Sunderland the season after that and he has since gone on to make more than 700 league and cup appearances in English football.

Stewart admits that he considered hanging up his boots at the end of last season but, after signing a one-year contract extension, he has found his career rejuvenated by converting to a midfield role.

“At the end of last season the manager (Paul Tisdale) said that he wanted me to play on. I signed a one-year contract and I'm really enjoying it. I'd like to play on again next year, but we'll just have to see how the injuries go.”

- Colchester United v Exeter City, Green'Un supplement, pages 6/7.

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