Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

EXCLUSIVE: STRIKER CAN'T WAIT TO GET STARTED

Thursday 15th June 2017

MARK STEWART'S holiday flights weren't the only things up in the air this summer.

Relegation with Raith Rovers meant that he jetted off to sunnier climes not knowing where he'd play his football next season.

But now that he's back home, the sun is shining on his long-term future.

Because the club website can reveal that the striker has signed for Dumbarton for the next TWO years.

Mark was unveiled as Sons' second new signing of the 2017 close season yesterday, having landed from a family holiday in Tenerife followed by a friend's wedding in Portugal.

And having got himself back into the Championship after relegation with Raith Rovers last season, he can't wait to get started.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, Mark said: "I'm really looking forward to it.

"When I went on holiday, the manager was quite persistent in trying to get me. Offering me a two-year contract shows that the club has faith in me and I couldn't refuse it.

"It's the right thing for me and my family. My agent managed to get the deal done for me and when I came back on Monday afternoon, everything was finalised.

"It was very disappointing to be relegated last season. I didn't feature as much as I would have wanted and by my own admission, I didn't have a good year.

"I didn't show what I've got in my locker and I struggled pretty badly with injury, so I'm glad to get the chance to play in the Championship again.

"I'd just signed a two-year contract extension in January, but there was a relegation clause, and obviously that happened.

"That's football. Dumbarton have come in for me and I'm more than delighted to sign."

Former Raith strikers have a habit of doing well for Dumbarton, including the likes of Derek Carcary and Christian Nade.

Of course, there is also Lewis Vaughan, who was on loan last season - but Mark had another source which sold him on a move to Sons.

He told the club website: "To be honest, I've not really spoken to Lewis, although I know how well he did for Dumbarton last season.

"I'm good pals with Darren Barr and he pretty much sold the move to me.

"He really enjoyed his time at Dumbarton - he just had a tremendous opportunity to go and take up at Morton."

As reported yesterday, finding the net at the Rock will be nothing new to Mark, who has already scored there for Raith Rovers (three times) and Stranraer.

The most recent of those was in November 2015, when Sons fought back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 with the Kirkcaldy side.

Raith went on to be the surprise package of the Championship that season, and Mark hopes that Dumbarton can be the same this time around.

He laughed: "Stranraer was a while ago! I was only a boy!

"But I've scored a couple of times at Dumbarton and after a disappointing season last year, I'm looking to kick on again.

"We need to aim to do more than survive in the league. The manager and club are ambitious and while you obviously do want to stay up, it's about having as good a season as you can.

"We need to focus on seeing how high up the league we can finish.

"One of my first games for Dumbarton will be at one of my former clubs, Kilmarnock, in the League Cup.

"It's good to be going straight into competitive action and I'm looking forward to going there."

Andy Galloway