Jon Stead (centre) celebrates his goal during a match at Middlesbrough in 2010

FORMER Ipswich Town striker Jon Stead will have a keen eye on the outcome of this weekend’s home showdown against Sheffield United.

In addition to spending a couple of years at Portman Road, the Yorkshireman also enjoyed a successful spell with the Blades.

He joined Town on loan from the Bramall Lane outfit on the last day of the 2008 summer transfer window and, after making the switch permanent, ended up staying in East Anglian until August 2010.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Ipswich,” said Stead, who now plays for League Two side Notts County.

“One of my best memories was scoring on my debut, in a 2-0 victory against Reading.

“My goal return was decent there and I managed to get one in a derby (the 3-2 victory in April 2009).

“That was obviously a great moment that I'll never forget.

“I’ve got really fond memories and the people and staff there were lovely.

“It’s a great area to live. I was out towards Bury St Edmunds and really enjoyed driving into Ipswich.

“That’s why it’s such a shame to see the club where they are, because as a former player I know how much time and effort people put in try and make the club successful.”


Jon Stead and Burnley's Clark Carlisle (left) do battle during a match at Portman Road in August 2010

Stead hopes current Town boss Paul Lambert can do some ‘wheeling and dealing’ when the transfer window swings open in January.

He believes that could be key to his former side clambering away from the foot of the Championship table.

“Obviously I don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on but I certainly follow it closely and hope it turns for them,” he said.

“They’ve got a manager who knows the division and how to get results.

“January could be a key month for him and hopefully he can do a bit of wheeling and dealing to get some extra bodies in.”

Stead also has happy memories of his time at Bramall Lane, which spanned January 2007 to June 2009.

“I’ve got fond memories of my time there, too,” he said.

“I joined midway through the season when the club were relegated from the Premier League to the Championship.

“But there was a real bond between us and I’m still close to the likes of Billy Sharp and James Beattie.

“Sheffield United are another very good, solid family club and they’re having a fantastic season.

“They’re had a couple of iffy results at home but their away form has been very good, so they’ll present a stern test for Ipswich on Saturday.”

Stead was back among the goals last weekend, netting twice in an important 3-2 victory against Tranmere Rovers.

The Magpies are second from bottom in the table heading into this weekend’s match at Grimsby Town.

“I’m still playing and still enjoying my football,” he said.

“We’re working hard to turn things around.

“I scored a couple of goals last weekend and it was a positive result against Tranmere.

“Hopefully we can build on it this weekend.”