‘Memories of failure can spur us on to success’, says Notts County striker Jon Stead


It was not so long ago when Jon Stead’s appearances before the media only came during times of crisis.

Be it managerial changes, off-field issues or a poor run of results, his professionalism and diplomacy meant he was the one often tasked with public relation duties.

But as he takes his place in Notts County’s media suite, with Kevin Nolan’s side at the top of League Two, he is glad the verbal firefighting is no longer required.

“It’s nice,” jokes the former Huddersfield striker.

“This is the first press conference I’ve done before a game this season, so things must be going well.

“I am not needed and I hope it stays that way.”

Although he hasn’t matched the level of goals output at the start of last season, Stead’s influence on and off the pitch should not be underestimated.

It was earlier this week when Nolan, bemused by some fans’ criticism of the striker, said he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his tireless work up front.

He has played a pivotal role in Notts’ extraordinary start to the season underlined by his performance in the 4-1 win against Lincoln City last weekend.

A goal and an assist were the reward for a bustling performance to demonstrate why Nolan was so eager for the 34-year-old to stay at the club in the summer.

With serious interest from America, Nolan convinced Stead that his future belonged at Meadow Lane with the player admitting that he wanted to finish his career with a medal around his neck.

Jon Stead sets off in celebration after his goal against Lincoln

Should Notts maintain this incredible form, which has defied all expectation, there is a good chance Stead will finally get his wish.

But it is clear that, having remembered how last season fell apart when Notts could have gone second at one point, those memories are good motivation.

“We’ve done fantastically well, but we are still looking at what can happen if we come away from what we have been doing so far,” he said.

“The players who were here last season remember and the manager also reminds us on a regular basis.

“I think that fear is a good motivator and you are always going to be tested during the course of the season.

“We played Lincoln last weekend and conceded our first goal in four games, but we reacted to it brilliantly.

“We were then fantastic again on Tuesday and we just need to keep building as much as we can and see where it takes us.

“But we are never too far from the memories and realise how quickly football can change.”

Notts are currently three points clear at the top of the league table at the end of a week which has brought two wins against two of the most highly-rated teams in the league.

Lincoln, managed by Danny Cowley, were convincingly put to the sword before Notts marched to Exeter and blew them away with a powerful performance.

The challenge of Mansfield Town now awaits but Notts’ recent record at the One Call Stadium is not particularly flattering.

You have to go back to 2005 for their last win on rival turf, and in the last two seasons Mark Cooper and Ricardo Moniz saw their Notts teams suffer further embarrassment.

Notts fans are hoping their incredible momentum can help settle a score and Stead is expecting another intense occasion having been one of the few players to have been a part of their last two visits.

“It’s a derby and obviously you want to get one over your rivals – that’s how it is,” he said.

“But that’s mainly for the fans, for the players it’s more about hopefully finishing off a really strong week.

“If we don’t carry on the performances that we have been producing against Mansfield on Saturday, then there will be disappointment on our part.

“We know exactly what they will be about and we have to win the battle and turn it in our favour.

“But we go there full of confidence and expecting a really tough game.

“It’s down to us, not the opposition or the fact that it’s a derby. It’s got to be on our terms.

“We have to continue our progression and I don’t feel there is a team that can live with us when we are on it.

“In all reality though derbies are just another game.”



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