Frontmen at opposite ends of the age scale are the talk of the Huddersfield Town at the end of one of the club’s most eventful weeks in recent memory.
Having been talked up by Mark Robins and named on the bench for that opening-day Championship shocker against Bournemouth which led to the manager’s departure, 31-year-old Jon Stead seized the opportunity handed to him by caretaker boss Mark Lillis to play a big part in Town’s bounce-back Capital One Cup victory at Chesterfield on Tuesday.
And a day later, Town confirmed the signing of hot 17-year-old Scottish prospect Liam Coogans from Airdrie.
While patience will most likely be required over Coogans, although he made his Airdrie debut the season before last, Stead is very much in the frame for a follow-up outing at Cardiff City.
The man who ended last season on loan at Bradford City scored only his second goal since returning to the club a year ago as he made a first start since November in the exciting cup clash at Chesterfield, who were beaten 5-3 after extra time.
His last-gasp goal, which followed a strike in the pre-season friendly at home to Newcastle United, levelled the tie at 3-3 and forced the extra half hour which Town dominated to seal victory and a second-round home game against Nottingham Forest the week after next.
Stead won praise from both Lillis and hat-trick hero Nahki Wells.
“Jon looked bright throughout pre-season,” explained Lillis of the former Bristol City man who also spent time on loan to Oldham Athletic in the second half of last season.
“Things didn’t go too well for him last time around, but he’s kept his head down and kept working.
“We thought he could do a job in the system we wanted to play down at Chesterfield.
“His task was to lead the line and he did it really well and got the goal which kept us in the competition.”
Wells, who played in the Capital One Cup final with Bradford and scored for the Bantams against Town in the first round last season, now has seven goals in the competition.
And the 24-year-old, who operated as a lone striker in many of his Town outings last season, admitted the presence of Stead provided a reminder of his appearances alongside big man James Hanson for City.
“For me it was like the way I used to play,” said the Bermudian after bagging his third hat trick in English football, the previous two coming during his time at Bradford.
“Jon did really well, and for me, he was man of the match.
“He worked his socks off, kept everything nice and neat, linked play and won his fair share of headers.
“He certainly helped me and I was delighted with the hat trick.”
Coogans came through the youth system at Airdrie, who older fans will remember thumping Town 7-2 over two legs in round two of the Texaco (later Anglo-Scottish) Cup back in 1971.
He has made 33 appearances, 14 of them starts, and scored four goals, one of them in his last Diamonds appearance, a 2-0 home win over Arbroath in League I (the Scottish third tier) on the final day of last season.
Airdrie’s side that day also included former Town striker Keigan Parker.
Celtic and Blackburn Rovers were also linked with Coogans, who had a Town trial early this year.
“I can’t believe the move has actually happened. It’s an amazing feeling,” he said.
“I went down on trial and they’ve obviously they liked me and have kept an eye on me.
“Huddersfield are a massive club and I’m really happy to be signing for them. The training facilities are brilliant. I can’t wait to get started.
“I think I’ll be starting with the Under 18s but obviously my aim is to get into the first team.”
Town’s juniors are away to Crystal Palace in their first Professional Development League game today.
The Under 21s open their PDL campaign against Bristol City at PPG Canalside on Monday (1.00).