Stead move: Nothing personal - Roy

LEADING scorer Jon Stead may have left Portman Road, but Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane has no plans to bring in a replacement.

Carl Marston

LEADING scorer Jon Stead may have left Portman Road, but Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane has no plans to bring in a replacement.

Stead's on-off loan move to Coventry City was finally rubber-stamped yesterday afternoon, with the 26-year-old target man signing a deal to the end of the season, with a view to a permanent contract in the summer.

The arrival of fellow strikers Daryl Murphy and David Healy, on loan from Sunderland at the start of the month, had lessened Stead's chances of making the starting line-up.

But although the ex-Blackburn, Sheffield United and Sunderland striker was desperate for some regular first team football, he still took time to weigh up all his options before agreeing to join Coventry, because of personal reasons.

The fact that Stead's wife is heavily pregnant, and that the couple are well settled in Suffolk, made it a difficult decision.

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Keane explained: “When I put these opportunities to players, it's up to the player, just like it was with Alex Bruce (to Leicester) a few weeks ago.

“It's nothing personal, it's just if a player wants a guaranteed run of games, that I can't give them, and if the deal is right for the club, then we'll put it to the player. It's no big issue.

“It happens with players. Some see it as an opportunity to play a few games, others will want to stay and fight for their place. Players are in control of it,” added Keane.

Stead actually trained with Town on Sunday, and even yesterday morning Keane was still planning to put Stead in his squad for tonight's game at Peterborough United.

However Stead, with six goals to his name this season, travelled up to the Ricoh Arena yesterday afternoon to discuss terms. He will put pen to paper this morning.

Coventry boss Chris Coleman said: “He has all the attributes to be a very good player for Coventry.”

Keane remains happy with his strike-force department, which also includes Pablo Counago, Connor Wickham and the versatile Jon Walters, in addition to Murphy and Healy.

“We've got a lot of strikers, particularly with the two new boys coming in,” confirmed Keane.

“I wouldn't think we'd need another striker. I didn't bring the two lads in to sit on the bench. They are here to play games.

“We're not too bad in terms of numbers,” concluded Keane.

Town will be looking to record back-to-back wins for the first time this season, at bottom club Peterborough this evening.