Lights out for Stewart?

MARCUS Stewart fears his days at Sunderland are numbered.The 32-year-old striker faces his old club Ipswich on Sunday knowing he is unlikely to be kept on next summer, even if the Black Cats get promoted.

By Derek Davis

MARCUS Stewart fears his days at Sunderland are numbered.

The 32-year-old striker faces his old club Ipswich on Sunday knowing he is unlikely to be kept on next summer, even if the Black Cats get promoted.

Stewart was concerned enough last summer to put feelers out about returning to Bristol and a recent dip in form has not helped his future prospects at the Stadium of Light.


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He said: “My contract is up at the end of the season and I don't know what's going to happen after that. I could have been away in the summer and I know that - just as Jason McAteer, Phil Babb and a few of the others were.

“But I had another year on my contract and I'm still here playing a part for Sunderland. I don't expect to be here next season but you never know what's going to happen.

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“I am one of the older players here and I would like to think I'm having an influence on the younger players - just as the likes of Phil and Jason did last season.”

Stewart played a major role in getting Ipswich Town promoted in 2000, even though he only signed from Huddersfield two months before they beat Barnsley in the Wembley play-off final.

He went on to bang in 37 goals for Town in 93 appearances.

The Bristol-born striker finished the top scoring Englishman in the Premiership with 19 goals in their first year back.

His form for the Black Cats is not so hot this season and he has now gone nine games without a goal, leading him to worry about his starting place.

Stewart, though, is hoping he can re-ignite his season with a goal against Town and inspire Sunderland to promotion - along with the Blues.

He said: “I have a job to do here and I'm doing my best to do that job. To get Sunderland back in to the Premiership would be fantastic. Ipswich play fantastic football and they are a fantastic club, just as Sunderland are. The two should be in the Premiership and maybe it can happen this season.”

The Mackems are defending a home record of just one defeat in 31 games and Town have not won there since 1989.

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