Stead ready for big cup tie, but Bradford’s Sunderland old boy vows: I’ve nothing to prove

Jon Stead celebrates Bradford's win at Chelsea last month

Jon Stead celebrates Bradford's win at Chelsea last month

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SUNDERLAND old boy Jon Stead insists he has nothing to prove to Black Cats fans in Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Bradford City.

Stead was among the Bantams’ heroes when they knocked Chelsea out in sensational fashion in the fourth round last month.

Now Bradford are buzzing ahead of the fifth round showdown, with a quarter-final place up for grabs.

Stead signed for Sunderland as Mick McCarthy’s underfunded squad prepared for a return to the Premier League in 2005, but he had a tough time on Wearside, not breaking his duck until the April of the Black Cats’ 15-point relegation campaign.

“I have many memories from my time at Sunderland – unfortunately not all of them were great,” said Stead.

“We had a bit of a struggling side in the Premier League during my time there and I don’t think I really fulfilled what I aimed to do there either.

“It was a bit of a disappointment for me that my performances weren’t quite perhaps what I would have wanted but it was still good to meet some great people up there.

“The support Sunderland get up there is brilliant – they are all football mad.

“Even when we weren’t doing too well in the league, it was still a nice environment to be around.

“Their support is always tremendous and I am sure there will be a big following coming down to Yorkshire with them.

“I don’t feel like I have anything to prove going up against an old club. I just want to play as I know I can and hopefully help us progress to the next round.”

The 31-year-old is excited about the challenge of tackling Gus Poyet’s side – and Sunday’s 2.30pm kick-off cannot come quickly enough for the former Blackburn and Huddersfield forward.

“I can’t wait for it really,” Stead told bradfordcityfc.co.uk.

“I’ve seen what Bradford have been like in the cup games over the years and I’ve seen how it was for the Leeds game (in the Capital One Cup) earlier this season.

“I’ve seen what the atmosphere has been like in those matches and I am obviously keen to get involved in that myself.

“It will be a huge occasion for the club, and we will be trying our all to give another good accounts of ourselves against a Premiership team.

“A lot of fans who couldn’t get tickets for the Chelsea game will hopefully be in the crowd this time around.

“This match gives them their opportunity to get right behind us.

“I have a feeling that the stadium will be bouncing that day and we’ll have an unbelievable atmosphere to savour.

“The lads will be bang up for it. If we can play a bit above our levels and Sunderland dip a bit below theirs, then it is a cup competition and anything can happen.

“We will be giving it a right go come Sunday. We go into the match with nothing to lose and full of confidence.”