Marcus Stewart will be back at Portman Road for season opener

Ipswich v Bristol Rovers: Former Ipswich Town fans’ favourite Marcus Stewart will be returning to Portman Road for the Blues’ opening game of the season following his appointment to the Bristol Rovers coaching staff.

The 39-year-old has returned to his hometown club 16 years after leaving them to embark on what turned out to be a hugely successful playing career.

Having retired from playing last summer, Stewart had continued coaching at Exeter City. He has now taken up a position as development coach at the Memorial Stadium though, with responsibilities to help the 18-21 year old age group make the transition to senior football.

Ipswich kick-start their campaign with the visit of Rovers in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, August 14.

Stewart – whose goalscoring prowess first fired Ipswich to promotion in 2000 before helping them to a fifth-place finish in the Premier League the following season – said: “I’ve been in the game 20 years and spent have spent all of my life playing football. So there’s no other place to retire other than the club that you started off at as a kid.”

The striker, who also played for Huddersfield, Sunderland, Bristol City and Yoevil, added: “I was at Bristol Rovers for almost 10 years which is the most time I spent at any club in my career. And I’m Bristolian, so of course it is nice to finish off where you started.”