Harrogate Town capture former Premier League striker

Harrogate Town unveiled their fifth signing of the close season on Monday evening.
Harrogate Town unveiled their fifth signing of the close season on Monday evening.

Harrogate Town strengthened their squad further on Monday evening with the addition of a former Premier League striker.

Ex-Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United and Sunderland forward Jon Stead, a man boasting over 150 senior career goals and more than 600 appearances, became Simon Weaver's fifth signing of the summer having agreed terms at the CNG Stadium.

The 36-year-old arrives from Notts County, for whom he scored 51 times in 182 games during a four-year spell in League Two, and will help add a more ruthless edge to Town's attack, according to his new manager.

"He's had an illustrious career and scored goals at the top level," Weaver said of his newest acquisition.

"I'd like to think that Jon Stead will be the man to help us convert more of the chances that we create.

"Although we were the top-scorers in the National League last season, sometimes we weren't in the right place at the right time and I think that his level of expertise will mean he'll be arriving on time in the box where it matters most.

"That's what we want from our front players, but it's also important that we've got a striker who can drop off and play.

"Despite his size, I actually think that Jon is very good at handling the ball when it comes into him. It's no good us bringing in a striker who can't handle the ball and is just a finisher, because it breaks down.

"I also think that even in training Jon will be able to help the lads around him - certainly the strikers - to improve their game. If everyone in the building improves this season then we'll be a good outfit."

An impressive return of 18 goals in 30 appearances in the 2003/04 season saw Stead move for a seven-figure fee from boyhood club Huddersfield Town to Blackburn, where he spent two seasons in the Premier League, scoring a memorable winner against Manchester United during that time.

A £1.8 million switch to Sunderland followed where Stead spent another season in England's top flight, before returning to the Premier League with Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United in 2006/07.

Town’s newest addition made a total of 86 Premier League appearances across the three clubs, before turning out for Ipswich Town, Coventry City and Bristol City in the Championship prior to his return to Huddersfield, though it was his recent record that caught the eye of Simon Weaver.

Stead has hit double figures in all competitions in each of his last five seasons, stretching back to the 2014/15 campaign with League One Bradford City.

“His career has been outstanding, but what is important for us is his track record over the last four years, he’s played over 180 games and kept himself in great shape," Weaver added.

“We watched a lot of him last season and he contributed a lot between the boxes, he was agile, put himself about, took up great positions in the box and executed his finishes well.

“We’re really pleased to have got him. This is a good signing that I would have thought will please the fans. I hope it does because it pleases us as staff, because we think he is going to help us a lot."