Stead ban is hammer blow for Roy

IPSWICH Town have been hit by another hammer blow with news that in-form striker Jon Stead must sit out the next four games.

IPSWICH Town have been hit by another hammer blow with news that in-form striker Jon Stead must sit out the next four games.

The six-goal joint leading scorer had his appeal against a red card for serious foul play in Saturday's game against Crystal Palace dismissed yesterday.

An FA commission felt the claim had no prospect of success and ruled that Stead must now sit out four games, increased by one match if he had not appealed.

Blues manager Roy Keane asked one of his strikers to step up to the plate and be counted, and Stead has duly obliged with six goals in the last 10 games.

Now he must get by without Stead, whose appeal allowed him to play and score twice in Monday's home 3-0 win over QPR, for Saturday's FA Cup game at Blackpool and Championship games against Leicester and Coventry.

His fourth absence will be determined by Town's FA Cup commitments.

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Apart from losing out on a host of points because of late goals they have conceded, Town were hit by a first-game-of-the-season long term injury to key player David Norris.

Shane Supple walked out on the game in August to leave Town short of keepers, and Keane would be entitled to feel hard done by this campaign.

He said of the latest setback: “We're not in the business of wasting people's time.

“We looked at the DVD of Jon's sending off several times and felt we had a case. It looked a yellow card at worst.”

Stead has been left gutted by the ban; never having been sent off in his career before. “This has killed me,” he said.

“It is a disaster for me and it was not a two-footed or studs showing tackle.”

This is the first time Ipswich have had a sending off appeal rebound on them having had previous red cards for Sito Castro and George O'Callaghan rescinded.

Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock and his team expressed surprise at referee Paul Taylor's decision to dismiss Stead for a late lunge at Freddie Sears.

Stead's absence may influence Keane when it comes to deciding on whether Stern John's loan from Palace is extended into the New Year although he has Kevin Lisbie returning from his loan spell at Colchester United.

Lisbie is cup tied and cannot face Blackpool and it remains to be seen whether John is available as even if he is kept on the Eagles might not want him cup tied.

New signing Brian Murphy is not eligible until next week so Arran Lee-Barrett will definitely remain in goal with the weather forecast suggesting slightly warmer conditions in Blackpool today and tonight, but another frost tomorrow night.

The Bloomfield Road pitch has been unfit for the Tangerines last two scheduled home matches because of frost with match referee Eddie Ilderton expected to hold an inspection before Town travel tomorrow.

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