Bookmakers back Cureton to net goals

CHRIS LAKEY Jamie Cureton can help Norwich City defy the odds and crack a play-off place this season - according to a leading British bookmakers.

CHRIS LAKEY

Jamie Cureton can help Norwich City defy the odds and crack a play-off place this season - according to a leading British bookmakers.

The Canaries are forecast to finish in a mid-table spot in the Championship, with the big-money clubs tipped to occupy the top places.

But while Cureton is 25-1 with Skybet to retain the Golden Boot he won last season with Colchester United, the company's public relations chief Dale Tempest says the 31-year-old can prove to be the difference for City this season.


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“He can take you from average to the top six, simple as that,” said Tempest, like Cureton a former Colchester striker.

“Last season he combined well with Chris Iwelumo, but you'd have to think he'd get more chances in the Norwich side than he did with Colchester.”

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Odds for the division's leading scorer reflect those of the leading clubs: Watford's Marlon King and Billy Sharp, who opted for Sheffield United ahead of Norwich, are 12-1 tips to lead the scoring charts, while Freddy Eastwood, now at Wolves, and West Brom's Kevin Phillips are 16-1. However, Tempest believes Cureton has enough proven quality to make a bet on City worthwhile.

“He is the sort of guy whose goals can turn average into very good,” he said. “Chances can be few and far between, but when you have someone who is on top of his game in the six-yard box they are worth their weight in gold. They can get you 25 goals in a season, and that's a place in the play-offs.”

Charlton are tipped for an immediate return to the top flight, followed by Wolves, West Brom, Watford and Sheffield United - clubs which have money to spend through either parachute payments, investment or big-money player sales.

“The evidence over recent years is that the teams who come down have pretty much go straight back up,” Tempest added. “The parachute payment money make so much difference in the first season from a betting point of view.

“But look at the likes of Norwich, Sheffield Wednesday and Leicester and there is no reason that, if they can get off to a good start, they can't carry on and do well. Norwich have a reputation for being good at home and if they can confirm that, if they can start well and get the fans really behind them and through a good position attract good players if they need them, they could end up in the top six.

“If you don't get off to a good start it's easy to slip away.”

Skybet are offering odds of 33-1 that David Strihavka will be top scorer, with teenager Chris Martin 66-1 and Darren Huckerby a good shot at 80-1.

Charlton are 6-1 to win the title, with Wolves 7-1 and West Brom 8-1, while City are 25-1 shots.

Charlton and Wolves are each 2-1 to go up, with Ipswich 7-1 and the Canaries 10-1. Internet bookies Stan James are the kindest to City, offering odds of 20-1 to win the title and 7-1 for promotion.

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