Cureton lifted by the competition

CHRIS LAKEY Jamie Cureton is getting back into the goal-scoring habit - but says he is thriving on the competition that Glenn Roeder has brought to the Norwich City forward line.


Jamie Cureton is getting back into the goal-scoring habit - but says he is thriving on the competition that Glenn Roeder has brought to the Norwich City forward line.

Cureton looked anxiously towards the touchline as Dion Dublin was preparing to come on as a second-half substitute against Wolves on Saturday.

But it was on-loan youngster Ched Evans whose number was up - and Cureton celebrated by banging in his second in three games to extend City's unbeaten run to six games.

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Roeder has permed two from the three of Cureton, Dublin and Evans in recent games, but the former Colchester player believes the mini rotation system has brought out the bets in the players.

“We have a strong squad now, the gaffer likes to change it around, especially up front and you just have to keep on your toes, keep performing well and try to stay in the plans,” said Cureton.

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“It's good for me - I like the pressure and hopefully it will push my game on to another level now.”

Dublin set up Cureton's goal but could have scored himself but the impact that he and Lee Croft, an early second-half replacement for the injured Jimmy Smith, made was the difference.

“Everyone is itching to play,” said Cureton. “I think when everyone comes on they want to perform well and get in the starting XI and that's what the gaffer wants; he wants hungry players. Crofty has obviously been biding his time and I thought today he came on and had probably the best 20, 25 minutes he's had. Dion has come on and caused all sorts of trouble.

“They all want to play - we want a squad of 18, 20 players that are itching to get in the team and when they get their chance they want to take it.

“I came on the other week and tried to do something, so the gaffer has got together a good bunch of players that are hungry to play and I think that is what we need.”

Cureton believes the two substitutions turned the game in City's favour after a first half in which Wolves were the better of two under-performing teams.

“The game was very dire I thought up until the two substitutions, I think that changed the game,” he said.

“I think we needed a target man on and whether it was me or Ched that went I think we needed Dion to come on and Crofty, and I think from that moment the game swung our way and we got back in the game and created a lot of chances.”

Cureton knows better than anyone that he could have clinched a win, with two good opportunities going begging.

“The second I lost the ball - I thought it was going clean through and it held up,” he said. “The first one I had I created myself and after doing all that hard work I'm a bit disappointed that I poked it wide. It was great to get the goal but I am one of those that wants to score everything and that niggles at me a little bit.

“It was nice to get the Scunthorpe goal and I felt sharp at Charlton in the first half and today I have managed to get another one so gradually the goals are going in and I am feeling a lot sharper out there. Hopefully I can just carry that on and keep getting better.”

City travel to Crystal Palace tomorrow, and Cureton admits tiredness - mental and well as physical - is a concern.

“The gaffer said we looked tired today,” he said. “I think every team feels it, you just have to block it out, regroup as quickly as possible, go home, just put your feet up, live right and rest and be ready for the next game.

“I think we are fit enough, but sometimes mentally it can get to you. We have to go to Palace and be as fresh as possible and hopefully get a result there. The gaffer has promised us a couple of days rest and then it's back to the FA Cup. It is a tiring period and if we can come out of it unbeaten we will have done very well.”

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