PROMISING striker Jon Stead is celebrating a top award as he bids to sign off before suspension by joining an elite band of Town stars.

The 20-year-old has been voted the Nationwide League's Division III Player of the Month for September after firing Town towards the play-off placings with some fine frontline displays.

Now, with high-riding Torquay due at the McAlpine on Saturday, Stead is looking for the goal which would take him to double figures in just 15 matches, ranking him alongside the sharpest forwards in Leeds Road history.

George McLean took just nine matches to reach the milestone in 1933-34, while the top bracket includes greats like George Brown, Jimmy Glazzard, Dave Hickson, Tony Leighton, Alf Lythgoe, Mark Lillis, Ian Robins, Marcus Stewart and Stead's current teammate Andy Booth.

"I'm delighted for Jon to get the divisional Player of the Month award because he deserves it for the way he has worked," said McAlpine manager Peter Jackson today.

"This is a fitting way to acknowledge how he has performed since the first day of pre-season training and he has carried forward the aggression and workrate into our matches.

"His goal tally has been tremendous, too, and this recognition from Nationwide caps a fantastic couple of weeks for the club.

"We've had four wins on the trot and now one of the lads has picked up an award - it's excellent news for the whole club."

Stead will lose his ever-present record after Saturday's clash with Torquay as he serves a one-match ban against Lincoln City at Sincil Bank after collecting his fifth booking of the campaign at Roots Hall, where Town won 2-1 to move up to ninth in the table.

Defender Steve Yates (knee) and midfield man Lee Fowler (ankle) remain under treatment following that game.

Jackson believes Yates will be okay, but Town will have to wait and see on Fowler, who has already withdrawn from Friday's Wales Under 21 match against Serbia and Montenegro in Barry.

"Lee is still feeling a bit sore, so it looks like being a 50-50 chance for him until he can have a fitness test later in the week," said Jackson.

Town, meanwhile, today put the new Admiral blue and white replica shirts on sale at the club reception for the first time (priced £39.99).

Because they haven't been able to market them until now, Town have decided not to change the kit again until after next season.

The new shirts show one difference to those already worn by the team - the Prime Time Recruitment logo is in black rather than green. The team shirts will also have a black logo from Saturday.

Chief executive Andrew Watson said the shirt was being kept for an extra season to give supporters proper value for money.

Town expect a rush to buy, especially as fans have already started investing in the Efe Sodje-style bandanas at £8.99.

QUICK OFF THE MARK - 10 goal scorers

George McLean (33-34) - in 9 matches

George Brown (25-26) in 10 matches

Jimmy Glazzard (53-54) in 11 matches

Jimmy Glazzard (52-53) in 12 matches

Dave Hickson (56-57) and Andy Booth (94-95) in 13 matches

Ralph Shields (14-15), George Brown (26-27 and 27-28), Mark
Lillis (83-84) and Marcus Stewart (99-00) in 14 matches

Alf Lythgoe (35-36), Tony Leighton (66-67) and Ian Robins (79-80) in 15

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