MARK IN, MARCUS OUT
It will not surprise any regular Ashton Aficionado to hear that Marcus Stewart has joined Preston North End on a month's loan, swelling the number of ex City men at Deepdale to three.
Marcus has had a thoroughly miserable season at Ashton, struggling to come to terms with the expectation of fans who put almost religious significance on his coming!
At the beginning of the season, City seemed unprepared and struggled to find any form at all, the desperate to impress Stewart received little service and precious little support, particularly when Steve Brooker was absent through injury. The terrible results which led to a change of manager did not help as City's star acquisition more often than not found himself out of the side, reports of a rift with the new manager have been denied but it is apparent
that Marcus does not, at this time, fit into Gary Johnson's plan. A loan spell in the Championship might well restore the Bristolian's confidence and he might return to star next season, I sincerely hope so, but my gut feeling is that we have seen the last of him in a City shirt.
Having said all that, how can you argue with Gary Johnson, results over the second half of the season have been much improved, there is optimism in the air and the spectre of relegation is all but banished.
It is difficult to come to terms with the fact, however, that Bas Savage and Mark
McCammon, duly signed for the rest of the season, are considered more deserving of first team action than a class act, albeit slightly past his best, who has registered 200 goals in top football. The whole hearted efforts of Bas and Mark have helped to make first division safety probable but I simply cannot see either spearheading a promotion push next season.
Could the whole affair be a plan to reduce the wage bill so that Gary can strengthen again in the Summer, I would not be surprised !!!