Little margin for slips - Stead

JON Stead hopes to lead the attack once more for Ipswich at Preston today as they look to catapult above the Lancashire side and into the top six.

Derek Davis

Stead knows there is little margin for slip-ups

By Derek Davis

JON Stead hopes to lead the attack once more for Ipswich at Preston today as they look to catapult above the Lancashire side and into the top six.

But Stead knows that Town will need to find the same sort of performance that gave then victory at QPR last week because there is little margin now for slip ups.

Stead said: “If we play to the same intensity we will get up there but the games are starting to run out. For the last three months we've been saying we need to do it the next game and finally we've started doing it.

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“You know games are running out but there is still a massive incentive there for us and you know it's not out of reach.”

If going to Deepdale where Preston have lost just twice in the league all season, is not bad enough, they go there knowing Alan Irvine's side are smarting over their loss at Southampton.

Stead said: “It's always difficult going to places when a team has just come off the back of bad result and they're all ready to put that right. We're going in with a great belief about us at the minute with some great results behind us and we're full of confidence.

“It's another game where we're going there 100% thinking that we're going to come away with three points and that's a fantastic mindset to have when you're going to a place like Preston where they've done well this season.”

A win would take Town above Preston on goal difference, defeat would see them slip six points adrift, with the likes of Sheffield United, Cardiff, Burnley, Cardiff and Swansea also looking to pull away.

Stead refuses to rule out any of the contenders, including Ipswich.

He said: “You look at the top half of the table and you wouldn't be surprised if anybody snuck into the play-offs. I think things are changing a little bit around the top end of the play-offs, in and around the top two, so you never know.

“This is a time when people are getting tired, injuries are starting to come in and I think that because of the way we've attacked the season with the rotation and you know I've not started as many games as other people have in other teams.

“So I think everyone's feeling quite fresh at the moment and you haven't got that kind of 'January feeling' in your legs where you're starting to think it's nearly the end of the season and your body is starting to feel it. I think everyone's quite fresh and ready and that showed with the work rate in the last couple of games.”

After seeing how close Sheffield United came last season, Stead believes Town have the mental strength to finish the campaign strongly.

He said: “It gets more exciting with every result, especially with us on the brink it's kind of "will we won't we" make it and it puts a different spin on it.

“If we keep believing in what we can do and what we've been trying to do all season then the belief is there in the lads and the management that we will push on and get into there because there are going to be a lot of changes with the top ten teams between now and the end of the season. It's just about being in the right position when it all stops on May 3.”

With 10 goals under his belt, Stead is relived that goals away from home are starting to come.

He added: “It took a while, I seemed to be getting all of my goals at home but now I've started to find the net away from home. I've been pretty regular with my scoring so that's pleasing for me but the most important thing is the way we go about the back end of the season and trying to scrape into those play-offs. In the space of a week the season is back on so we're happy at the minute.”

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