Opta Jury: Jonathan Stead
By Duncan Alexander
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sunderland striker Jonathan Stead is the latest subject of our Opta Jury feature.
Sunderland manager Mick McCarthy was given a stringent budget last summer when The Black Cats returned to The Premiership.
The days of giving Peter Reid more than £10 million to spend in a week had long since passed, and McCarthy had to cut his cloth accordingly. His search for a striker took him to Ewood Park, Blackburn where a cool £1.8 million was handed over in exchange for Jonathan Stead.
In early 2004, Stead started at Blackburn in fine fashion, with three goals in his first four Premiership outings. It seemed that his transition from lower league football with Huddersfield to the glittering top-flight was going to be a smooth one.
He ended his first campaign in The Premiership with six goals, four of them being crucial winners as Rovers battled the spectre of relegation.
But Stead's first full season at Blackburn did not mirror his 2003-04 efforts, with the Yorkshire forward not scoring in his first 19 appearances of the season, and ending the campaign with a paltry total of two.
Things have not improved since his move Sunderland, and as February rapidly approaches, Stead is still waiting for his first goal in the Wearsiders' red and white kit.
|Goal Attempts|| || |
|Shots On Target||38||13|
|Shots Off Target||65||13|
|Passing|| || |
|Pass Completion %||62%||70%|
|Discipline|| || |
Stead remains generally popular with The Black Cats' supporters, who appreciate his honest attitude and high work-rate. And while his stats this season do not make particularly good reading, he has at least hit half of his shots on target.
|Club||Apps||Goals||Games per goal|
Stead was never that prolific at Huddersfield, where he scored a goal every three games on average, but the recent difficulties in front of goal must wrack the 22-year-old.
Nonetheless, his age means that he has plenty of time to put it right, even if that necessitates a temporary drop into English football's second tier.
What do you think? Has Stead been a hit, a miss or is the jury still out? Use the feedback form below to send us your views.