Stead aims to follow Sunderland example

JON Stead has pointed to the example set by his former club Sunderland for Ipswich to follow in their bid to win promotion.

Derek Davis

JON Stead has pointed to the example set by his former club Sunderland for Ipswich to follow in their bid to win promotion.

After losing 2-1 in the 23rd game of the season Ipswich are on 31 points, and would only reach 64 points if they were to repeat their first half showing, which would be about 10 points too short of making the play-off places.

With Wolves already halfway to a century of points, Birmingham on 47 and Reading a point behind them Town look to be too far away from an automatic spot but stead still feels a top six place is possible.

He said: “We are off the pacesetters and we need to be more consistent if we can catch them.

“The only teams that will be promoted are those that are consistent and at the moment we are hot and miss and that needs to improve.

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“We are not that far off the chasing pack and anything can happen in the second half of the season.

“Look at Sunderland and how they crept up and got promoted.

“There is always room for someone to sneak up and get promoted.”

The defeat by Cardiff ended a nine game unbeaten streak for Ipswich and Stead insists they need to get back on track.

After three straight away defeats town go to Coventry City on Saturday, and are then at home to Birmingham on Boxing Day.

He said: “We need to try and get another run going. After a sticky start to the season at home we have done well. The whole division is struggling with consistency and we are a prime example of that.”

Saturday's consolation was Stead's sixth goal of the season, all at home and he admits he needs to start firing away too.

He said: “I love playing at Portman Road, but I'm not doing anything different at home than away it just seems the chances are coming here. I had one chance and put that away.”

While Stead signed a three-year deal in September, he accepts that for the 14 of his team-mates who are out of contract next summer, and able to start holding talks with other clubs in January, it is an unsettling time.

Alex Bruce, Tommy Miller, Richard Naylor and Shane Supple are among those seeking new deals somewhere, but have been told they must wait until March/April to find out of Town will offer them anything.

Stead said: “It must be difficult for those out of contract but they are very professional and know what is required.

“If they are playing well then they have a change of getting a new deal.”

The striker also dismissed criticism of manager Jim Magilton was jeered for taking him and Pablo Counago off following Ben Thatcher's dismissal.

He said: “I'm gutted every time I'm taken off, but no complaints because the manager has to do what he feels is best.

“Everything he does is for the best of the team and I have no problems with it. Of course we can hear the crowd, but that is the manager's decision.”

Town slumped to their eighth defeat of the season and Stead admits it was a bitter blow.

He added: “It was massively disappointing. We killed ourselves in the first 10-15 minutes of the game after starting brightly.

“We find ourselves two goals down and have a mountain to climb.

“We kept at it, but it wasn't to be.

“We felt we could come back and win the game although the sending-off changed things.

“Pablo and I were taken off and it lulled a bit.

“The belief was there, but the sending off knocked us back a bit. Thatcher had a tough job against Routledge who is a very good player and dangerous the whole game so we had no problems with that.”