More to Stead's game than height

DON'T be fooled by the 6'3'' Jon Stead's role with new club Ipswich Town.As Stead, signed on loan initially from Sheffield United until January, quickly points out, there is more to his game than just standing there as the ball is lumped forward.

Derek Davis

DON'T be fooled by the 6'3'' Jon Stead's role with new club Ipswich Town.

As Stead, signed on loan initially from Sheffield United until January, quickly points out, there is more to his game than just standing there as the ball is lumped forward.

Stead said: “I don't like to see myself just a target man because of my size.

“The assumption is everything will get lumped forward to me but that is not how the gaffer wants us to play football here. I see myself as a threat at set plays where I can use my height but there is more to my game than just being a big man.”

For one thing Stead started his career playing wide left at Huddersfield so perhaps he is the secret weapon manager Jim Magilton has been looking for out there.

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Stead said: “I have played wide left in a three so there is an opportunity to switch around if needed.

“I like to play up front in a two but I can play a few roles and will play wherever to get games.

“I can use my left as good as my right so I can play there comfortably.”

If he does play out there then that would allow Pablo Counago and Kevin Lisbie to stay in the side and the 25-year-old former Blackburn and Sunderland striker has seen plenty to convince him there is room for everyone.

He said: “There is strong competition with so many good strikers but there are opportunities to chop and change it around and blend together.

“Pablo is such a clever player who drops and links so well. Everyone has a different aspect to their game.”

So what can Stead add to this Blues side?

He answered: “Ultimately I hope to bring goals. I have been brought in to score and like all strikers you are judged on goals

“I bring a lot more than that though with my game and hopefully fans will see that over the next couple of weeks with my link play and the way I work hard for the team.

“First it is about getting into the starting XI and show what I can do.”

A glance at his career record shown 48 goals in 228 appearances, less than one in five and something Stead insists can improve if he gets a run of games.

He said: “You always want your ratio to be better but whenever I have had a decent run in the side I get goals. That is something I want here because it was very stop start at Sheffield and after getting goals in the Premier League.

“We were relegated then I was at the back of the line when new strikers came in.

“Kevin Blackwell was good enough to tell me where I stood in the pecking order and although it was not something I wanted to hear it was good to be able to get a way and get an opportunity to show what I can do.

“I'm confident in what I can do but feel I have stood still over the past 12 months so this is a terrific opportunity for me.”

His age and experience of playing and scoring in the top flight with three different teams, even if his time at the stadium of Light was not the best, convinced Magilton he was the way forward after selling Alan Lee to Crystal Palace and stead is under no illusion about what could happen next.

He said: “I'm 25 and feel I have my best football in front of me. It is definitely the right tie to pick it up and use that premier league experience.

I try to bock out the time at Sunderland but we move forward.

My scoring record in the PL is not bad compared to many others and I'm looking to get straight in among the goals here.

“If I'm playing tomorrow I will be looking to get off to good starts and scoring as soon as I can.”

Being reasonably well-travelled at a comparative young age means Stead has been able to quickly settle in, with the help of a few old friends, chiefly former fellow Black Cat Tommy Miller.

Stead said: “It is difficult living out of a suitcase at the moment but otherwise it is fine.

“The area, the training facilities and the lads are all first class so that has made it easier.

“It has been good having the two-week international break as that has given me more to time to settle in.

“I know quite a few of the lads having already played against many. I know Alex Bruce and I spent a lot of time with Tommy at Sunderland.”

After settling in Stead should make his bow at Portman raod this afternoon and is already considering a long term future with Ipswich after the deadline day signing from the Blades.

He added: “It all happened so quickly after I spoke with the manager. The interest came for me on the Sunday before the deadline so it was all a bit rushed.

“As it is just a loan until January I can relax and concentrate on playing my football. I know there is a decision to be made in January but until then I can just focus on playing for Ipswich.”

So it should be a big day for Stead today but the target is a debut goal not being just the big man up front.

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