Yeovil Town manager Chris Hargreaves has said it is “business as usual” for the club’s Head of Player Development Marcus Stewart after his diagnosis with Motor Neurone Disease.

The Glovers’ boss said the former striker had been at Huish Park to speak with the club’s players ahead of the weekend’s trip to Woking and paid tribute to his “inner desire” and offered his “unwavering support.

Stewart made the announcement following a year of testing and he and his wife have launched a campaign to raise money to support research in to the condition which affects the nervous system.

Marcus Stewart. Photo courtesy of Mike Kunz

Speaking to BBC Somerset’s Sheridan Robins on Thursday, Hargreaves said: “It’s a shock to everybody, he’s held in such high regard in football and at this club.

We will be there with Marcus with absolute unwavering support. What Marcus wants to do is be with the players, enjoy coaching and that is what we want.

He had a good chat with players this week and said he is right behind them, he wants to be with them because football is his love along with spending time with his family.

Asked about the former player who he brought in to his coaching staff on a part-time basis after his appointment to the job in the summer, Hargreaves spoke of his inner strength.

He added: “Across the years, Marcus and I have wanted to win at tiddlywinks, head tennis or whatever it was and that is what took Marcus to the top.

He will be fighting as he did as a player, you don’t get to the level he without being tough. You don’t have to be the biggest or the strongest, but you do have to have that inner desire and he’s got that.

I have the utmost respect for Marcus on and off the field and that’s why he’s here. We’re all there for him.

He’s turning up at this club and it’s business as usual for him, he turned up this morning and he wants the best for the players and he’s trying to get the best out of them, as we all are.”

 


Hargreaves said he had spoken to the club’s players following the start of an investigation in to racial abuse directed at York City striker Lennell John-Lewis in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at Huish Park.

He said the club had “zero tolerance” against any form of discrimination and said the punishment to anyone found guilty of the abuse would face “severe” punishment.

The boss added: “We have zero tolerance for any form of discrimination. I have spoken to the players this week, we stand together as a group.

Punishment will be severe and there needs to be ongoing education. There is a police investigation with the FA and the club which I can’t comment on further. But, we stand together with zero tolerance.


Looking ahead of Saturday’s trip to face Woking on Saturday, Hargreaves said that he was hopeful midfielder Matt Worthington would recover from an injury.

Matt Worthington. Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

The former AFC Bournemouth man missed the defeat to York City  and the boss said he was one of a number of doubts in his squad.

He said: “Matt will hopefully be in contention along with a couple of others who have slight injury niggles.

We had to change a few things last week having lost Matt and that meant we lost some consistency, but if you are that player coming in, you have to step up.

There remains opportunities and I want players to show that they want to keep the shirt, that’s the most important thing on Saturday.

If they leave the field on Saturday, they leave it having given everything.


Hargreaves added that his players knew what to expect from their opponents at the weekend with former Glovers’ boss Darren Sarll taking charge of the Cards.

It is expected that ex-players central defender Luke Wilkinson and full-back Dan Moss will both be in the starting line-up at the Kingfield.

Hargreaves said: “With the ex-players in the Woking side there may be some with a point to prove, and some of our players might have the same against a former manager.

I get on well with Darren, we have come across each other plenty of times and we have that mutual respect, but come Saturday we both want to win.

 


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