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Stewart delighted to join the Saddlers and reunite with Darrell Clarke

21 May 2019

Club News

Stewart delighted to join the Saddlers and reunite with Darrell Clarke

21 May 2019

Assistant Coach Marcus Stewart has expressed his delight at joining the club and reuniting with boss Darrell Clarke.

Former Ipswich and Sunderland striker Stewart served as Clarke’s number two during Bristol Rovers’ rapid rise from the Conference Premier to League One.

And the 46-year-old, who left his hometown club at the same time as Clarke in December 2018, is pleased to be back in football.

“It’s great to be here,” said Stewart, who scored 254 goals in 731 career appearances.

“I have had conversations with the manager since he has been at the club and he just asked me if I would like to join him.

“There is a big rebuilding job here but I was delighted when he asked me and I am excited to get going.

“I have been out of work for six months now so it is nice to be back involved with a manager that I trust.

“We have got a big job on our hands with a fair few players leaving and with us looking to bring new players in as well.”

A post-relegation rebuild is nothing new to the duo, having overseen a similar situation with the Pirates.

“It happened a couple of years ago when we were with Bristol Rovers and we went down from League Two to the Conference,” Stewart added.

“A lot of players were out of contract so it gave us the opportunity to bring players in that were hungry and wanted to succeed and it’s not too dissimilar here.

“There were plenty out of contract and then there are a few young lads who are still in contract who are a good age, 23, 24 and 25.

“That is a good age but we know we need a few experienced players – they are the most important ones to bring in.

“They’re the type of players that if you get the right ones, they can drive the group when you’re not around and add value in different ways.

“We know what we have to bring in with those guys but over the next three or four weeks, we have got to get a few players in.

“It’s a clean slate and the right people will come in, that’s for sure.”

Bristol-born Stewart started his playing career at the Memorial Stadium, plundering 79 goals in 207 matches and helping the Gas qualify for the 1994/95 third-tier play-offs.

Joining Huddersfield in July 1996, he scored 68 goals across four seasons with the Terriers before moving to Ipswich, netting in Town’s 1999/2000 play-off final victory over Barnsley.

He finished the 2000/01 season as the Premier League’s second top scorer, his 17 goals firing the Tractor Boys to fifth place and UEFA Cup qualification.

Stewart completed a £3.25m switch to Sunderland in August 2002 and bagged 17 goals during the Black Cats’ 2004/05 Championship title triumph.

After three years on Wearside, he signed for the other Bristol club, City, in 2005 and took in loan spells at Preston and Yeovil before joining the latter permanently in 2007.

He won promotion from League Two with Exeter in 2008/09 and became the Grecians' first team coach following his retirement in 2011.

Stewart joined Bristol Rovers as a development coach in 2012 and later took over as assistant manager to Clarke.

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