Stead would like to blunt Blades

JON Stead is determined to prove Kevin Blackwell wrong today when he lines up for Ipswich against former club Sheffield United.

Derek Davis

Hot-shot Stead would

like to blunt Blades

By Derek Davis

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JON Stead is determined to prove Kevin Blackwell wrong today when he lines up for Ipswich against former club Sheffield United.

Stead signed for Town from the Blades, initially on loan, last September and has become the Blues leading goal-scorer with 11 goals.

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It is a statistic he would like to improve on this afternoon after being told he was not good enough by Blackwell who allowed him to join Championship rivals Ipswich.

Stead said: “I was disappointed that he didn't give me the chance and didn't see in me what I felt I could do for the club, so in that respect yes.

“I have nothing to prove to the club, but I think I have to the gaffer because I want to show him that he was wrong.”

Stead has settled into rural Suffolk life living near Bury St Edmunds and has no regrets about moving from south Yorkshire.

He said: “It was a big decision but when the manager sits you down and says you're not going to play it makes it quite a bit easier for you and I think, looking back, it was definitely the right decision.

“It was very enjoyable at Bramall Lane. I had a fantastic time there from the early days when Neil (Warnock) took me there. I scored some good goals in the Premier League before everything happened with the relegation and that was disappointing. From then on I was struggling to get a decent run in the side which was disappointing but it gave me the opportunity to come here and I've now played a lot of games, scored some goals and thoroughly enjoyed my time.”

Stead does not expect a hard time from the Blades faithful and in return has vowed to keep his celebration low key should he score his 12th of the season.

Stead said: “I'm expecting a half decent reception, I'm not expecting to get booed. I left on decent terms with the fans, I think they were appreciative of what I did for the club and the only reason I left was to get regular first team football.

“It was nothing to do with me not enjoying the city or me being at Sheffield United, it wasn't that at all it was just a case, purely and simply, that I needed to get games.

“I don't think I'll celebrate it too much to be honest, it'll be quite low-key because of the people I know there and the respect I have for the fans.”

Although Stead and Alan Quinn are among a number of ex United players who could sue West Ham for compensation both decline to say if they among the 18 who have already taken action, Stead admits relegation from the Premier League was his lowest point in football.

He said: “I've had a few low points to be honest but no one likes to be relegated, particularly in the circumstances that we did as well. It was quite hard to take.

“A lot of people have had their comments on this and I think its plain for anyone to see, whether they're a football fan or not, that the punishment was wrong and I think West Ham did get off lightly.

“I think you could speak to any Sheffield United fan and they'll say it was a disgrace what happened but you know you've got to get on with it and Sheffield United have picked themselves up and are in a great position to go back up.

“If that hadn't happened I could've been sat here still a Premier League player and that's what hurts. It is disappointing but like I say things happen in football and you've got to get on with it. I've done that, I've come here and scored goals and feel like I've given a good account of myself over the season. There are still six games to go so a chance for me to get more goals and hopefully set myself up to progress next season.”

Stead doesn't believe expectation levels at Ipswich are any higher than at Bramall Lane but Sheffield United have delivered.

He said: “They're just as high. They're similar clubs although Sheffield United is maybe a bigger club in terms of stature and stuff but as far as ambitions go for the squads and the supporters I think they're both exactly the same.

“The only difference at the minute is that Sheffield are closer to where they should be than we are and that's disappointing on our part.”

Stead is expected to keep his starting place for Town today with Pablo Counago and Kevin Lisbie vying to claim an attacking role too.

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