Cureton aiming for City landmark
David Cuffley Jamie Cureton is hoping his goalscoring return to the Norwich City starting line-up will set him up for a career landmark in the next home game.The 33-year-old striker was recalled by manager Bryan Gunn in place of the injured Alan Gow for the Championship visit of Burnley and responded with his second goal since returning from a loan spell at Barnsley.
Jamie Cureton is hoping his goalscoring return to the Norwich City starting line-up will set him up for a career landmark in the next home game.
The 33-year-old striker was recalled by manager Bryan Gunn in place of the injured Alan Gow for the Championship visit of Burnley and responded with his second goal since returning from a loan spell at Barnsley.
If he keeps his place, Saturday's crucial clash with Coventry at Carrow Road will be the 100th appearance of Cureton's City career - and he admits it has been a very long time coming. Even Geoff Boycott never took 14 years and 115 days to reach three figures.
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“It's been a very long hundred,” said Cureton, whose senior debut in his first spell with the club came as a 19-year-old in a Premiership home game against Mike Walker's Everton on November 5, 1994.
He has produced a few fireworks since then with more than 200 goals in English club football for a string of teams, departing for Bristol Rovers in 1996 and not returning until he re-signed for City from Colchester in 2007.
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“There have been a lot of highs and lows and it's been a long time coming but it will be a big moment for me,” he said. “I feel I owe the club a hell of a lot for giving me a start in football. If I can get more goals, then brilliant because that's all I've wanted to do since I came back here and I hope another goal and a win next week will cap the 100th game off.”
City's need for points in their relegation fight takes precedence over personal milestones for Cureton, however, as they try to fight their way out of the Championship's bottom three.
Despite a run of six games without a win and a perilous league position, he is convinced City will survive.
He said: “I still think we'll be all right. I'm obviously going to say that, but I'm still confident. When you're involved, it's a good side out there and I think we've got the right credentials to get out of trouble.
“It's not going to be nice and there are going to be nervy moments. We aren't going to win 12 on the trot but I think we have enough about us and it's important we all believe that - the whole squad, the fans, and we all pull together and get out of the trouble we're in.”
Cureton was disappointed that his first-half goal against Burnley was not the signal for three desperately-needed points as the Clarets hit back for a 1-1 draw.
He said: “It was nice to be in the starting line-up, it was my first opportunity of the game and to take the first one is always pleasing. I think we were playing really well and on top and we thought we could go on and get more goals and put the game out of sight, but it wasn't to be.
“In general, we played very well in both halves and it was just a slack goal we conceded, which again we were not happy with. Maybe in other circumstances you'd take a draw but we felt we definitely we deserved to get all three points.
“We didn't create loads of chances but we always felt we were in the ascendancy. We've come off frustrated - even though we've got a point, which could be a vital point in the end - because we really could have taken all three.
“But we've got another home game next, which is vital. If we win, we take four points from two home games which I don't think is too bad. Let's now focus on Coventry and try to beat them.”
Cureton was substituted with 12 minutes remaining as Gunn handed 19-year-old Luke Daley his senior debut, but said he felt fresh for the battles ahead.
He said: “I felt good and I think Corty (Carl Cort) said the same. We both felt good and we felt we were causing trouble. I always felt there was something out there, there were little half-chances just getting away and I always felt something might drop.
“So I was a bit disappointed but the manager makes his decisions and you have to get on with it. But the good thing for me is I feel good. After playing in the reserves as well, two games in a week, I felt sharp.”
There is the outside chance of a reunion with one of Cureton's early City team-mates on Saturday in Coventry goalkeeper Andy Marshall, though he has been on the bench for the Sky Blues for most of this season.
The two players made their senior debuts with weeks of each other and Marshall has never been on the losing side against Norwich in six meetings since leaving the club.
Said Cureton: “I saw that he played in their FA Cup game against Blackburn so it will be nice if he is involved, to be playing against one of my old team-mates.”
Gunn praised Cureton's contribution against Burnley after Gow was forced out by the thigh strain he suffered in the 1-0 defeat at Preston.
“Jamie came back into the side and showed character I know he's got and he's come up with the goal that got us a point,” said Gunn.
“For him it was massive, massive. He played the reserve game against Barnet the other evening and scored, he's a chirpy character when he's scoring, so he'll be chirpy next week and we hope he scores again.”