NOTTS SHOULD TIE UP SHOLA!
JON Stead and Shola Ameobi have rolled back the years for Notts County in recent months – and Stead believes the Magpies would be mad not to keep his strike partner.
A decade ago, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Stead and Ameobi banging in the Premier League goals, but in 2017 they’ve been terrorising League Two defences.
Now 34 and 35 respectively, and under the tutelage of 35-year-old manager Kevin Nolan, the duo’s efforts have helped lift County away from relegation danger over the past two months.
Nigeria international Ameobi headed to Meadow Lane only in February, having been released by Fleetwood at the end of last season. He had already grabbed four goals before this weekend, in addition to doing a lot of the dirty work up front.
The former Newcastle striker’s contract expires at the end of the campaign.
“Shola has been fantastic. He settled in straight away and is such a calming and polite character,” said Stead. “He’s been a joy to have in the dressing room, not only on the pitch but in and around training with the younger lads, too. He is a true gent and professional.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air for me, too. He is a target man and takes a lot of the knocks, which lets me run the channels, which I prefer doing.
“We are causing teams problems together. I am sure the club will do things to try to get him back here next season.
“He has been such a big influence, I hope they will look to extend his contract. He is a vital part of the squad and they would be mad not to keep him.”
Like Ameobi, Stead’s contract with County is up at the end of the season and, with an offer from the US on the table, the striker admits he is currently in two minds whether to head over the pond or stay with the Magpies.
“I’m still not sure. I have days when I wake up and think I want to be on a plane and I have days when I want to be back here next season,” he added. “I’m torn 50/50. We’ll have discussions and I’ll have to sit down again with my family. It’ll probably wait until the end of the season.” There is less than ten months difference in age between Stead and boss Nolan, but the former Bradford and Huddersfield marksman says he has loved working under a contemporary. County had lost ten straight league games when the former Newcastle and West Ham midfielder took over as manager in January, but he has led a revival. “The gaffer and his staff have been massive in turning things around,” explained Stead. “It was wrong before. It was not a good place to come and work – it was a really depressing place to be. “The whole staff felt that, but Kevin’s turned the performances around and got the best out of us. We know what’s expected of us and the club is running smoothly. “The big thing was staying up. Now he can build going forward. He is just so professional. He has played at the top level all his career and knows what it takes preparationwise. “There is a really good relationship between me and him. We speak regularly and I feel I can go to him with anything. He is like a mate as well as a manager.”
EVERGREEN: Jon Stead celebrates another goal for Notts. Insets: Shola Ameobi and boss Kevin Nolan