Stead blasts 'crazy' sackings

IPSWICH Town marksman Jon Stead believes that modern-day managers are given the chop too quickly.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town marksman Jon Stead believes that modern-day managers are given the chop too quickly.

An in-form Stead, who scored after just 29 seconds in last weekend's 3-1 home win over Blackpool, is amazed that so many Championship managers have bitten the dust already this season.

Remarkably, Town boss Roy Keane is now the 12th longest serving manager in the Championship, even though the Irishman has been at Portman Road for less than eight months!

"It's been a crazy last week or so," admitted Stead.

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"I was very disappointed to see my previous manager, Jim Magilton, leave QPR. It's difficult to know what to read into that, but I'm sure that Jim will get another club soon.

"I definitely think that sometimes clubs do not give their managers enough time.

"Fortunately, that is not the case at Ipswich, even after 15 games or so when we were struggling. There's big potential here, and I'm delighted that the chairman (Marcus Evans) has not changed the manager. All credit to him for not jumping into any changes.

"He's made his decision and he has confidence in Roy (Keane). He's looking longer term," added Stead.

Ex-Portsmouth manager Paul Hart was yesterday appointed as Magilton's successor at QPR. Earlier in the week, Reading boss Brendan Rodgers and Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws also left their posts, both by mutual consent.

Meanwhile, Stead is looking forward to continuing his rich vein of form at Scunthorpe tomorrow.

The ex-Sunderland and Sheffield United striker has scored four goals in the last eight matches, playing a big part in Town's current unbeaten run of 10 games.

Stead has also started Town's last three fixtures, and he looks sure to start his fourth game on the bounce at Glanford Park, especially as Jon Walters, his strike-force partner against Blackpool, is unavailable due to suspension.

"Before the last game, the manager said that he wanted one of the strikers to stand up to the plate, and hopefully I have done that,"

continued Stead.

"I was pleased with my overall game, not just scoring, although I want to start reaching the target that I've set myself for the season.

"I don't set myself specific goal totals, but rather goal ratios, because you can be out injured for a while, or be out of the team. One goal every two games is great, while one in every three is also good.

"It's been hard, because there's been a lot of chopping and changing amongst the strikers. I think that I've started less than 10 games this season, and in two of these I was taken off at half-time!

"Often as the striker you get to 60 or 70 minutes and then you're taken off, so it can be hard to get some consistency."

Town's third win of the season, against Blackpool, finally enabled them to rise clear of the relegation zone for the first time in nearly four months.

Manager Keane insists that there is no reason to celebrate such a landmark, but Stead himself is relieved to be out of the bottom three.

"It gets rid of the stigma, and it's given the players a boost," said Stead.

"We're out of the bottom three and we want to add a couple of wins over the Christmas period to pull us further up the table.

"Scunthorpe is an awkward place to go. I think they have done well, but I don't think they have necessarily over-achieved.

"Teams like Sheffield United and Newcastle have both struggled there, so we must be wary," added Stead. The Iron beat both the Blades and Magpoies on home turf in October.

In addition to skipper Walters, key midfielder Grant Leadbitter will also meet the trip to Glanford Park after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Blackpool. But both Walters and Leadbitter will be available for the Boxing Day visit to Crystal Palace.

Stead was speaking after a visit to West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds yesterday afternoon, where he and team-mate Jaime Peters helped to give out Christmas presents on the Children's Rainbow Ward.

"I've done this sort of thing for the last eight or nine years, at various football clubs," revealed Stead.

"Hospital is not a nice place to be over Christmas, and I always find it such a humbling experience."

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