Ryan Stevenson believes the Championship is no better than Scottish Premier League

FOLLOWING his ill-fated six-month spell at Ipswich Town, Ryan Stevenson has returned to Hearts with the opinion that the Championship is of no better standard than the Scottish Premier league.

The 28-year-old midfielder joined the Blues in a �50,000 deal back in January having gone on striker at the Edinburgh-based club following their failure to pay his wages on time.

Blues boss Paul Jewell only handed the player two starts in the second half of the campaign, but was full of praise for his attitude and character.

However, with his wife and newborn baby failing to settle in Suffolk and there little prospect of the Scot getting a regular run in the side, Jewell agreed to let him return to Hearts on a free transfer last week.

“A lot of people would not have expected to see me back at Hearts and I really didn’t think I would be back after the way things ended the last time,” said Stevenson, speaking after his side’s 1-0 home defeat to Dundee.


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“I thought Sunday would be a difficult day for me but the reception from the fans was positive right from the start. I really enjoyed myself but obviously I was more than a little bit disappointed we didn’t get the win we deserved.

“I want the fans to stick with me now. I’m back on a long-term deal at the club and the supporters know I will give everything for the jersey.”

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He added: “The football down there was good. We were going to different grounds every week and it was a great place to be at.

“Ipswich are a club with a proud history and a lot of tradition but standard-wise the Championship is no better than the SPL. A lot of people get the wool pulled over their eyes because it is England.”

Meanwhile, former Town right-back Jaime Peters – one of numerous players to have had their contract prematurely terminated by mutual consent at Portman Road over the last year – is on trial with League One side Leyton Orient. The 25-year-old Canadian scored for their reserves in a 3-1 victory at Peterborough United yesterday.

Elsewhere, keeper Cody Cropper – released by the Blues at the end of his contarct this summer – says he is delighted to have signed a two-year deal with Premier League side Southampton on deadline day after impressing on trial.

“It feels great,” said the American. “It was nerve-racking to come down to a Premier League club having been at a Championship club before that, but I think it’s a great opportunity for me.

“There are a lot of good guys here and it’s place that I can kick on and develop my career so I’m looking forward to it.

“A lot of it comes down to not only me but (coaches) Martin (Hunter) and Vince (Bartram) for seeing something in me to help develop so I can maybe push on into the first team or out on loan.”

In other news, ex-Blues midfielder Jimmy Bullard was substituted 55 minutes into his debut for League One side MK Dons last night, his new employers losing 1-0 at League Two side Northampton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

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