Stewie: I'll shoot down Town

MARCUS Stewart today sounded an ominous warning to the Ipswich Town fans that once adored him.The former goal-king of Portman Road is gunning for his old club in the colours of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tonight.

By Dave Allard

MARCUS Stewart today sounded an ominous warning to the Ipswich Town fans that once adored him.

The former goal-king of Portman Road is gunning for his old club in the colours of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tonight.

And he warned: "My confidence is as high as when I was scoring all those goals for Town."


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The in-form Stewart added: "I've scored four goals in seven games and have created a few as well."

Now he is looking to shoot down the Blues to maintain Sunderland's charge into the promotion frame.

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Stewart came close to a full England call-up after cracking 21 goals in the remarkable 2000-2001 to fire Ipswich to fifth place in the Premiership and into Europe.

Following relegation the following season he was sold to Sunderland for a knockdown fee believed to be around the £600,000 mark.

Stewart admits it will be an emotional occasion to play against his old club for the first time tonight.

He said: "The team we had at Ipswich was a fantastic one. We all worked hard together and knew each others' game."

Sunderland and Joe Royle's Town have both recovered following poor starts to their Nationwide League First Division campaign.

The Blues go to Wearside with three straight league wins behind them and Stewart predicts a cracking game.

He said: "We both have footballing sides and the right blend of youth and experience. I think it will be an interesting night."

Town boss Royle took his side up north yesterday and the Ipswich squad had a training session near Middlesbrough before competing the journey to a hotel on the coast at Seaburn, not far from the magnificent new arena that is the Stadium of Light.

Meanwhile, Royle was given a boost today with his new on-loan striker Shefki Kuqi rejecting the chance to play for Finland the weekend after next when Town are scheduled to make the league trip to Bradford.

Kuqi, recruited from Sheffield Wednesday, came on as a debut substitute to score the equaliser in Saturday's 2-1 win at Watford.

Royle said: "Shefki could have played, but it's a friendly game and he is looking after our interests by not going."

On-loan midfield man Alan Mahon trained well yesterday after his groin problem.

Travelling Town fans face a gruelling late-night trek home to Suffolk tonight.

The match is scheduled for an 8pm kick-off, meaning Blues supporters are unlikely to be on the road for the 280-mile return journey until at least 10.30pm.

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