Cureton eager for recall

David Cuffley Striker Jamie Cureton is hoping to take a leaf out of Lee Croft's book by ending his Norwich City goal drought - but first he has to get back in the starting eleven.

David Cuffley

Striker Jamie Cureton is hoping to take a leaf out of Lee Croft's book by ending his Norwich City goal drought - but first he has to get back in the starting eleven.

Cureton's pass set up Croft for his dramatic injury-time winner against Sheffield United at Carrow Road on Saturday as the winger found the perfect way to mark his first start since the opening day of the season by scoring for the first time in 10 months.

Now the 33-year-old striker is hungry for a recall as he bids to end his own blank spell, which stretches back six months to the hat-trick he scored in the 5-1 win over former club Colchester on Easter Saturday.

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Cureton was delighted for Croft and full of admiration for the way his team-mates coped with a growing injury list to beat the Blades.

He said: “Crofty's had to bide his time as much as anyone and he takes a bit of stick for not scoring when maybe he should. He battled hard and took his goal very well, so I'm very pleased for him.

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“It was a tight game. It was important we got something out of it and to come away with a win was brilliant because they're a team that's going to be up there.

“We've lost a lot of players. The whole back four, near enough, had changed, so it shows we've got a very good squad and there are people waiting in the wings to play.

“Semmy (Jon Otsemobor) and Adam Drury came in and both played very well and Crofty's come in and started, so there are people who have been biding their time and waiting for their chance and they've taken it, I think. It goes to show we have a decent squad and everyone is capable of playing.”

But manager Glenn Roeder's increased attacking options have restricted Cureton, last season's top scorer with 14 goals, to a place on the bench for the last four games. He has been used as a second-half substitute in each game since he missed a first-half penalty in the 2-2 draw at Cardiff.

He said: “It's getting frustrating. It's four games now. You can't do a lot. You just have to keep training and when you get on, do what you can and hope at some point the manager changes the team.

“But that's all you can do. As each game goes by it gets more and more frustrating because everyone wants to play.”

Cureton's scoring touch has certainly not deserted him completely, for he scored in both Swedish tour matches and in the pre-season friendly at home to Tottenham.

He said: “My main concern is to get in the team. The goals at the moment aren't too big a deal because I'm not playing - 20 minutes here or there, if I don't score in that period I don't put that down as too bad.

“It's when I start that I really think about that side of it. But at the moment it's just trying to do as much as possible in that 20 minutes to get that starting berth. If I keep doing that, wait and see. I've just got to bide my time and hope I get in.”

A hamstring injury for on-loan striker Arturo Lupoli could give Cureton his chance at Barnsley on Saturday, though the Italian's injury was last night reported to be not as bad as originally feared.

“It's a winnable game. We've probably done better away from home, so I hope we can build on this and go and get another win,” he said.

Cureton reported no ill-effects from the head injury he suffered in last week's 1-0 home defeat against another of his former clubs, Queens Park Rangers.

He said: “It's fine. I had a few stitches at the end of the game but I trained the next day. I think it was his teeth that caught me when I went to flick the ball on. Next thing it was bleeding so I had to get off and get it sorted and get back on as quickly as possible.”

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