We're red-faced Blues - Stead

SUPER-sub Jon Stead admits that it is “embarrassing” to be stuck in the Championship basement.

Carl Marston

SUPER-sub Jon Stead admits that it is “embarrassing” to be stuck in the Championship basement.

Stead clambered off the bench to salvage a point for Ipswich Town in Saturday's scrappy 1-1 draw at lowly rivals Plymouth Argyle.

The ex-Sunderland and Sheffield United marksman is intent on nailing down a place in the Town starting line-up - he considers there to be two rather than just one vacancy up for grabs - but he can't believe that the team has now failed to win any of their first 14 games.

“To be honest, it's embarrassing to be at the bottom of the table for so long,” confessed Stead.

“It's embarrassing for the players and it's embarrassing for the whole staff. We're playing well, and we're giving it everything that we can.

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“But why are we down there? We're all asking that,” added Stead, whose 68th minute equaliser cancelled out a first-half strike from Carl Fletcher.

Stead warmed up for the weekend trip to Devon by scoring twice in Town Reserves' 3-2 defeat at Peterborough on Wednesday.

It was this polished performance, in front of goal, that persuaded manager Roy Keane to include Stead in his squad, at the expense of Hungarian international Tamas Priskin.

“That game for the Reserves was a big help for me, not least because I had needed the game. That was my first 90 minutes for two months,” revealed Stead.

“I was ready to start the game, if Jon Walters (ankle problem) was not fit. But he came through training. I always knew I was in the squad, but in the end I was on the bench.

“At least I helped us to get the result. It would have been terrible to lose this game.

“A point at Plymouth is not a bad result, in the big scheme of things, although I know it doesn't help our position much in the short term.”

Yorkshireman Stead, a �600,000 purchase from Sheffield United just over a year ago, is at the moment playing second fiddle to fellow front-men Walters and Pablo Counago.

The 26-year-old has also been linked with a loan move to Derby County.

Stead confirmed: “There's been a lot of speculation around. However, I know that there are two strikers' places up for grabs here, not just one, because no one has been scoring that many goals.

“That's why I want to stay and fight for my place in the team. No striker has nailed it down yet.

“It's been a stop-start season for me. I've been way off my best, and it was frustrating not to even be in the squad for the two previous games.

“But I'm also aware that this was my first goal of the season.

“We are now unbeaten in three matches, but we were all gutted in the dressing room again. We're all disappointed, because we feel that we should have won.

“We've under-performed, all the lads know this,” added Stead.

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