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Oldham’s loss is Bantams' gain as Jon Stead finds best form
Jon Stead reckons Oldham will see a very different striker when he lines up for a quick reunion at Valley Parade.
Stead has caught the eye in the first two outings of his City loan and covered James Hanson’s absence from the frontline.
The Huddersfield hitman is looking forward to his home debut tomorrow – against the team he played five games for in February.
Stead admitted he was under-cooked during his brief stint at the Latics. Now he is confident he can make far more impact back in West Yorkshire and revive a personal campaign that is yet to get going.
He said: “I’m in a much better position than I was when I went to Oldham.
“I didn’t have a great spell on loan there because I’d not had any games before that.
“I missed all of pre-season at Huddersfield with a groin injury and then was basically in and around the team. I never really got a solid run of games – my longest run was only three.
“I had five games with Oldham but the weather conditions were horrendous. We had a pitch inspection nearly every week.
“They do try and play the ball around and pass it and I felt I was improving as I was going on. But I probably needed three or four more games after that to get up to full speed.
“I’m generally fit anyway, it’s just the sharpness and intricate things that you can slip behind with when you’re not getting a lot of match football.”
Stead has scored only once this season – a Huddersfield winner over Leeds. He was denied a first City goal on Tuesday by Coventry’s in-form keeper Joe Murphy.
But his partnership with Aaron Mclean – which has helped the team bag four points from a week on the road – has taken the heat of rushing Hanson back before he feels right.
Stead, who turns 31 on Monday, can feel the spark returning to his game as City home in on League One safety.
“There’s a month left and I can really get myself going. I don’t want the season to just peter out as a huge disappointment for me.
“It’s set up to be a success and it’s a great opportunity for the club to finish on a real positive.
“You don’t want to be looking over your shoulder. But in the same way, nobody can start thinking about their holidays and take their foot off the pedal.
“If we play well then that will help me enjoy my football. For the best part of this season I haven’t been doing that.
“I think it can work well with Azza. I know what his game’s about and how hard he will work.
“We can play off each other and be a nuisance with our energy.
“If you’ve got defenders moaning that a striker is a pain in the back side, then that’s a good thing.
“You want to put them under pressure and make teams defend because that’s not what they want to do.”
Stead returned to his hometown team Huddersfield last summer after a series of moves around the top two divisions that have clocked up £4.4million in total transfer fees.
But he has encountered no local animosity after crossing the M62 to make the Bantams the tenth stop of a nomadic career.
He said: “The majority of fans would rather see you wanting to play football somewhere than sitting picking up wages and not doing anything for any one.
“I’ve played for a lot of clubs, probably too many in my career. But I can pride myself that I’ve played professionally and given 100 per cent for every one.
“Being at a rival club to Huddersfield doesn’t make any difference to me whatsoever.
“I had a brief chat with Nahki (Wells) but it was that much of a whirlwind last Thursday that I didn’t really have the chance to speak to anybody.
“Obviously being a Huddersfield lad, I know everything about Bradford, the size of the club and its history. There was no real problem with any of that.
“I don’t want my career to get to a point when I start dropping down and playing little bits here and there. That’s why this is just perfect for me.”
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