5 Reasons why FA Cup hero Stead must be on New Year Honours list

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Having already vanquished superior opposition in Chelsea, Sunderland and… Millwall, every neutral’s favourite FA Cup team, Bradford City, are back in action once again this weekend against Reading.

Though any side featuring the evergreen Yakubu Ayigbeni is likely to provide their fair share of attacking threat, the Bantams have a not-so-secret weapon at their disposal – Jon Stead.

Backing Bradford to qualify certainly looks a tempting tip, with the Yorkshire club boosted from 11/10 to 11/8 to advance to the semi-finals.

The 31-year-old striker, who has played for no fewer than 10 Football League clubs throughout his career, has been the star of the competition so far.

And with Ladbrokes offering 100/1 on Stead getting on the 2016 New Year Honours List, we’ve decided to offer up five reasons why the Bradford City striker should be getting a call-up from the Queen.

1. He’s the top scorer in the FA Cup this season

With a total of five goals in this season’s competition, Stead is tied with West Brom striker Saido Berahino as the competition’s top scorer this season.

But while the Baggies striker netted four of his goals against non-league opposition in the form of Gateshead back in round three, Stead has been a much more consistent contributor for Bradford.

The Bantams forward has scored in every round so far and is 6/4 with Ladbrokes to finish as the top scorer in the competition.

2. That brilliant game-changing strike against Chelsea

2-0 down to Premier League leaders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, most teams would have shut up shop, keen to avoid a potentially embarrassing defeat at the hands of the billionaire-backed Blues.

But then Bradford, and Stead, are not most teams and responded almost immediately to Ramires’ second goal for Chelsea, with the 31-year-old netting with a fabulous finish that should be watched again and again.

On this basis, a move to the Championship – priced at 6/4 – may not be out of the question.

3. Those two amazing assists against Chelsea

Yet Stead’s contribution to that incredible comeback against the Pensioners was so much more than just that goal – the on-loan striker played the game of his life and was involved in two other goals for the Bantams.

Watching the highlights of the game back again, Stead’s impact still shines through, with the striker setting up Andrew Halliday and Mark Yeates with some superb forward play for Bradford’s third and fourth goals.

With touches like this in his locker, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the striker enjoy a Dion Dublin-style renaissance with a Premier League move 16/1 at Ladbrokes.

4. Vanquishing his Sunderland demons

Once seen as a player with a bright future in the Premier League, Stead’s top-flight career came undone thanks, in no small part, to a rather difficult spell at Sunderland.

So the Bradford man showed plenty of character to silence the Black Cats fans in the fifth round, scoring and playing impressively in a 2-0 victory for the Bantams that sealed their quarter-final place.

Though he may have failed to find form in the Premier League, these goals could be enough to see David Moyes gamble on taking the 31-year-old to Spain with odds of 50/1 available – he could certainly show Carlos Vela a thing or two.

5. Earning the ‘Master at Work’ Award from Ladbrokes

We were keen to praise Stead from the very start in the FA Cup but we may not be the first to get on the bandwagon when it comes to the 31-year-old striker.

Progress past Reading and he looks a surefire pick to score at Wembley – 9/4 with Ladbrokes – and who knows? Maybe that might even convince Roy Hodgson to give him an England call-up at 33/1.

We’d certainly have him on the bus!

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.