Ex-Sunderland and Middlesbrough player enjoys career reboot under former Newcastle man as play-offs beckon

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Former Sunderland man Stephen Wearne is enjoying a career resurgence in League Two.

Former Sunderland youth team player Stephen Wearne is enjoying a career resurgence - and has helped MK Dons reach the League Two play-offs.

The 23-year-old, who also spent time with Middlesbrough and Newcastle United as a youngster, left Sunderland in 2022 before spells with Grimsby Town in League Two and North East club Gateshead in the National League.

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Wearne returned to the EFL with a permanent transfer to MK Dons signing for an undisclosed fee and reuniting with former Gateshead head coach Mike Williamson last January. Williamson also enjoyed a six-year stint with Newcastle United as a player between 2010 and 2016. After joining MK Dons, Wearne has chipped in with 10-goal contributions.

“I'd be lying if I said we weren't looking at the play-offs. We've got to focus on the now, focus on Harrogate next week, and Sutton. If it's play-offs, we take it as it comes,” Wearne said last week.

“The next two games will be about trying different things, seeing how we can break teams down. (Mansfield) made it hard for us today, so maybe the next few games we can try other things. “It's moments like this why we love the game because moments like this make it sweeter when you do win.”

Williamson added ahead of MK Dons’ play-off campaign: “I've never had the pleasure to experience it, but many have told me the euphoria is on another level. I've always tried to keep it on a level. I speak to them as people, and hopefully, that goes into them as a player. You can always be fitter, stronger, you can always have more detail.

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“Football has so many variables, you're never the finished article. So no matter the situation, we always have to be desperate to improve. But sometimes as people, you also have to take stock, zoom out and look where we've come from and what we're doing it all for.

“It can turn disappointment and the fear of a play-off scenario into excitement. I can feel it now already, I can feel the emotions and the uncertainty. But that's why we do it. The tests will be difficult, but we wouldn't want it any other way.”

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