Striker determined to make an impact

Date published: 06 February 2014

THE JOY of playing the game, an appetite for goals and a frustrating stint on the Huddersfield bench are the motivating factors for Athletic’s loan striker Jon Stead.

The player is bidding to strike up form in a division he hasn’t played in for more than a decade.

Stead (30) went close to netting with a header and claimed an assist on his debut at Swindon, poking the ball into the path of scorer Jonathan Grounds.

The three-hour car journey to Wiltshire on the morning of the game wasn’t ideal preparation, following the deadline-day move to link up with his former Bristol City team-mate Lee Johnson.

But he impressed as a substitute enough to suggest he will start against the Robins on Saturday.

Having struck once this season in 15 appearances for his home-town club in the Championship — albeit, the match-winner in a local derby against Leeds — Stead feels he has a point to prove at Boundary Park.

“It doesn’t matter what level it is, I am hungry to succeed for myself and whoever I am employed by,” the striker said. He turned down switches to Athletic’s League One rivals because Oldham is nearer his home, he said.

“I could have easily sat it out at Huddersfield and not been interested in playing, but I need games. I love the game. This is a perfect fit for me. It’s going to be interesting; a new experience I’m relishing.”

In the summer, Stead moved from Bristol City back to Huddersfield Town, the club where it all started for him.

That was before a £1.25million move to Blackburn resulted in a winning goal against Manchester United, calls for him to be considered for England duty and a career spent exclusively in the top flight and Championship.

Stead, whose total transfer fees top £4.4million, had hoped to be hitting the Huddersfield first team more under Mark Robins’ charge.

But the task for the former Sunderland, Sheffield United and Coventry man is to prove his worth at Boundary Park — ideally until the end of the season.