Jon Stead will pursue a career in coaching after the former Rovers striker called time on his career.

Stead will forever be fondly remembered at Ewood Park after his six goals in 13 appearances in 2003/04 helped Rovers pull clear of the relegation trouble they were in when he arrived.

It was an instant rise for Stead, signed from Huddersfield for just over £1m, scoring a winner at Middlesbrough on his debut and then backing that up with a late equaliser against Newcastle on his first Ewood appearance.

Stead will now continue with his coaching badges and hopes to stay in the game after announcing his retirement.

He told the Harrogate Advertiser: “It is something that I really want to progress with. I think it would be a real shame if I didn’t given the amount of knowledge and experience I have of the game all through the levels.

“I feel like it would be silly not to try and use it, not just to my advantage, but also to help younger lads in the game.

I have still got so much to learn, however, so I want to get a head start this summer and get through some bits and pieces to help me towards completing my A Licence.

“So, that’s the next step. Whether coaching leads to management, we will see. I think I would like to manage at some point in the future, but I think we’re talking quite a few years down the line.”

Stead had jumped up from the fourth tier to star for Rovers, scoring winning goals against Fulham, Everton and Manchester City, as well as in another success at Aston Villa.

He moved on to Sunderland in 2005, and went on to enjoy a distinguished, and long, career in the EFL, representing 10 other clubs before arriving at Harrogate Town in 2019.

It is there where the 38-year-old chose to finish his career, helping the club to an historic promotion to the Football League, and helping them finish well clear of the drop this season.

He added: “Just because I have had a decent playing career doesn’t give me the divine right to walk into a coaching or managerial job.

“I’m going all in. I want start at the bottom. Start at the beginning, like I did as a player, learning as I go and working my way up.”