Cureton aims for derby dominance
Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder may be playing down talk of the play-offs, but Norwich City still have a major target to aim for - East Anglian bragging rights.The Canaries' recent surge up the Championship table has left them just seven points off the final play-off spot - currently occupied by their biggest rivals, Ipswich Town.
Glenn Roeder may be playing down talk of the play-offs, but Norwich City still have a major target to aim for - East Anglian bragging rights.
The Canaries' recent surge up the Championship table has left them just seven points off the final play-off spot - currently occupied by their biggest rivals, Ipswich Town.
It means the race for bragging rights - which was all but over just a few short weeks ago - is suddenly back on again, and could even be decided by the time City visit Portman Road on April 12, four games before the end of the season.
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Canaries striker Jamie Cureton is no stranger to East Anglian derbies - with City or last year's top dogs Colchester - and believes anything is possible in this topsy-turvey campaign.
“It would be a massive boost for the fans if we could get anywhere near Ipswich,” he said. “The way things were we'd just have been happy to avoid relegation, but we have managed to turn it around.
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“The fans always want to compare us with them and want us to do better than them and while as a team we don't set targets like that we know how important it is to the supporters.
“If we carry on I don't see any reason why we can't get into a good position. We have proved we are a very good set of players and it is now down to us as a team to keep this run going.
“In five or six games time, if we continue this run, then it could get very interesting. The fact we had a bad start is almost irrelevant now - what's better, a bad start and a good finish or a good start and a bad finish? It's over 46 games.
“Our only targets now are to not get beaten. We go out to win and if we can't achieve that, then we aim not to lose.
“We are not out of trouble yet but we have turned the tables and given ourselves every chance. Things change all the time and teams can pout a run together and get into the play-offs. We just want to keep our form together and if we can mirror what we've done in this current run then who knows where we'll end up?
“We could end up in the play-offs - but we know how quickly things can change.”
Norwich are one of the in-form teams in the division, while Town belatedly secured their first away win of the campaign at the weekend as they pushed their claim for a top-six spot.
In the last 10 seasons Norwich have finished higher than Ipswich just three times, courtesy of a three-year spell when they went up as First Division champions, were relegated and then finished six places above the Tractor Boys in their first season back in the second tier.
Last season was a dismal one for both sides, who had to watch as tiny Colchester United proved to be the best team in East Anglia with a 10th-placed Championship finish.
This season it's down to the big two again, with Colchester struggling at the foot of the table, but City may need to end a four-game run without a derby day win if they are finish above their neighbours.
With 16 games left it could be a close call, on current form.
If Norwich were to maintain their current two points a game average they would finish the season on 70 points - but Ipswich would still end the season two points better off.
However, take the 68th league meeting between the pair out of the equation and City would be on 68 and Town on 71 - which means the City must win at Portman Road and then hope that their goal difference - which currently stands at Ipswich +9 Norwich -6 - has improved sufficiently to overtake the Blues.