Bristol City striker Jon Stead out to drag former club Ipswich Town back into a relegation scrap
11:01 21 December 2012
Ipswich v Bristol City: BRISTOL City striker Jon Stead is determined to drag former club Ipswich Town back into a relegation scrap.
The 29-year-old – who made 63 appearances for the Blues between 2008 and 2010 – is expected to replace the injured Ryan Taylor up front for the Robins at Portman Road tomorrow.
And he knows just how significant the result could be on the Robins hopes of Championship survival. Victory would see the fourth-from-bottom side close the gap on Town to just two points, while defeat would see them fall eight points adrift and effectively become embroiled in a four-team fight for safety.
“It’s a hugely important period for us and Ipswich is a massive game,” said Stead, speaking to the Bristol Post.
“We’re under no illusions as to where we can be and where we don’t want to be at the end of the festive period.
“Obviously, you want the gap to be as small as possible and the last thing you need is to be losing sight of the teams immediately above you.
“It’s about keeping all those clubs around you as close as you can. If you do that, then a win can take you up two or three places rather than just closing a gap.
“There are some really big games coming up, games that could go a long way to closing gaps and jumping above rivals.
“We have some difficult games, but they are winnable ones. If we show the fight and character we have shown on the road for the last couple of games, Saturday could be a good day for us.”
Although defeat would effectively cut City adrift and leave them to contest a mini-league comprising fellow strugglers Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Peterborough, Robins boss Derek McInnes – who has seen his side lose 10 of their last 13 matches – insists tomorrow’s game is like any other.
He said: “It’s an important fixture, but there are only three points at stake like every other game. I’m not getting dragged into that (talking about the league table). For me, it’s just about Bristol City.
“I think it’s too early in the season to be worried about the opposition and be looking at teams around us. My club is the only concern of mine and we need to concentrate on ourselves.
“If we can get a level of performance we know we are capable of, it will give us a chance to win the game.”
– Ipswich Town manager Mick McCarthy will conduct his pre-match press conference at lunchtime. Keep an eye on this website for all the latest Blues team news.