By Jason McKeown
Phil Parkinson has reacted to successive toothless Bradford City displays by recruiting Huddersfield striker Jon Stead on loan until the end of the season.
Stead, 30, becomes the seventh loan signing on the books – presenting some difficult team selections for the manager who can only use five in his matchday 16 – and will ease the burden on James Hanson, who has been struggling for fitness.
Having made a flying start to his professional career with his hometown club of Huddersfield over a decade ago, Stead has found the going more tough since a £1 million move to Premier League Blackburn Rovers. He subsequently played for Sunderland and Sheffield United in the top flight, before dropping down a division to Ipswich and then Bristol City. He rejoined Town last summer but has rarely figured for the Terriers.
Although not a prolific scorer by any means, Stead has made a decent impact at most clubs he has played for. Indeed, our friends at the Exiled Robin site wrote of Stead when he left Ashton Gate last summer, “He leaves us three years later as one of the most popular players to have pulled on a red shirt in recent memory. If you want a 25-goal a season striker, then Stead isn’t your man.
“The most telling moment of Stead’s stay came at the end of the 2011/12 season, when he was carried shoulder-high from the pitch having spent much of the previous two months metaphorically doing the same for many of his team-mates, driving us clear of a desperate relegation scrap with an immense effort, dedication and no little skill.”
It will be very interesting to see how much Stead figures over the final few weeks, particularly when Hanson is fully fit. It seems as though Stead is here for a short spell with no obvious prospect of joining permanently during the summer, and he should look to fellow non-scoring forwards Mike Newell and Aaron Wilbraham as examples of the positive difference a short spell at Valley Parade can have on his career.