Stead to answer Call of Duty

AFTER battering his former team-mate Billy Sharp on a games console all week, Jon Stead is hoping he can answer his call of duty and produce his finest hour (and a half) against his old club today.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

AFTER battering his former team-mate Billy Sharp on a games console all week, Jon Stead is hoping he can answer his call of duty and produce his finest hour (and a half) against his old club today.

Stead and his old Sheffield United colleagues Sharp and James Beattie have been at it hammer and tong in the build up to the Championship clash and while the friendship remains string each think they are winners, on and off the pitch.

Stead said: “We have been playing XBox Call of Duty so we have been having so banter all week about the game coming up.

“I'm hammering Billy because he has only had it a week but I'm being battered by James Beattie because I'm not that good either.

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“It has been swings and roundabouts but they are great lads and we have had good banter.”

While Stead has been basking in gaol glory at Portman Road, four in, his old mate Sharp has enured a 10 game goal drought.

Stead empathises: “Billy has been in and out of the team as well so he is looking to get a goal after going so long without one.

“I have had that experience and it does play on your mind because strikers are judged on goals. Billy is a fantastic work horse and is a fox in the box so if chances drop to him he will put them away.

“If you are doing that work outside the box I have found the chances thin out a little. He is playing off Beattie who is playing through the middle.

“I have been trying from long range because if you don't shoot you don't score. Of course you have to look to see if someone is in a better position but we have seen, especially in this division, how goalkeepers spill the ball and make mistakes from long range and then anything can happen.”

His sympathy though is limited and would rather it was him on the score sheet again than his old pals.

Stead said: “I don't mind if Billy or James score as long as we score two, or even better if I score two.

“I'm really looking forward to it. We are fully committed to getting the three points because that will get Tuesday's loss out of the mind. If we can get that result it also puts us in the right mind for the derby against Norwich next Sunday.”

Stead admits that his departure from Sheffield United was not his happiest day but has actually turned out for the best.

He said: “I was very settled at Sheffield United and fully enjoyed my time there. I felt that Sheffield was the place I could stay a long time after moving around so much but it is the same old scenario when a manger doesn't see you in his plans.

“The good thing with Kevin Blackwell though was he was good enough to tell me the situation. If someone strings you along and says you are in their plans but a year later you are still not really playing then you know they have been telling lies but the gaffer there was good enough to tell me my chances would be limited.

“While it was disappointing I respected him for it because I was able to look around and not just sat there rotting away.”

Stead has moved into a house in Rattlesden and is loving the fresh air in the countryside.

Stead said: “I'm so happy here. I have got goals I feel I'm playing well and I'm settled in the area. Things could not have gone better for me.

“My career is back on track and going where I want it too.

“I've got all my home comforts here. My girlfriend is down with me and my dog Bella and we go for long walks around.

“It was hillier near Huddersfield where I lived but the countryside where I live now is lovely and it is only 40 minutes from training.”

Stead is looking for a start today and could continue his partnership with Pablo Counago although Kevin Lisbie is also pushing for a start.

Derek.davis@eadt.co.uk