Black Cats in good Stead
By Ben Blackmore
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Jon Stead has promised that he will return to his best form at Sunderland.
Sunderland striker Jonathan Stead has fired a warning to his critics ahead of Saturday's trip to Liverpool, stating that he will return to his best form this season.
Less than two years ago Stead was the new striking sensation as he instantly made the adjustment from League Two football with Huddersfield to Premiership life at Blackburn.
Stead scored on his debut before going on to notch several more crucial goals towards the back end of the 2003/04 season, including the winning strike against Manchester United.
However, the goals have dried up for the tall 22-year-old, but Stead feels it is only a matter of time before he rediscovers his goalscoring touch for The Black Cats.
"It's annoying when the critics say I'll never do again what I managed when I first joined Blackburn," stressed Stead.
"I had one good season and one bad one; it's as simple as that. But the fact is I'm still the same player, the same person and am doing exactly the same things I did when I scored six in my first 13 Premiership games.
"The harsh truth is it's there in black and white. I did the business for half a season and haven't done it since. I can't argue against the facts. But while it's not happening for me at the moment, I am determined to stay positive and I firmly believe I can score goals regularly at this level.
"Last year, a mixture of factors conspired against me - a change of manager, a reshuffle on the pitch, I wasn't playing as consistently as I'd hoped."
Stead joined Sunderland in the summer for £1.8 million in a move that did not capture the imagination of the club's fans.
The England Under-21 international knows that his goal tally will determine how the fans respond to him as the season goes on, and Stead is hoping for a dream opener to his account at Anfield this weekend.
"I'm under no illusions why I was brought here - to score the goals which keep this club where it belongs.
"The fans say if I score plenty of goals, we can stay up; if I don't, then we'll struggle. That's fair comment, I suppose, although it brings even more pressure.
"As a kid I dreamt of scoring at Anfield but the result is everything."