Cureton set for surprise comeback

David Cuffley Striker Jamie Cureton could make a swift return to first team duty for Norwich City tomorrow - just 11 days after an appendix operation.

David Cuffley

Striker Jamie Cureton could make a swift return to first team duty for Norwich City tomorrow - just 11 days after an appendix operation.

Leading scorer Cureton has a “decent chance” of being among the substitutes for the Coca-Cola Championship game against Leicester City at the Walkers Stadium (3pm).

And that could be just what the doctor ordered for manager Glenn Roeder after he revealed that another of his strikers had climbed out of his sickbed to play against Hull earlier this week.

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“Ched Evans was in bed all day Tuesday,” said Roeder, with the 19-year-old almost ruled out of the clash with the Tigers, three days after his matchwinning double against Cardiff at Ninian Park.

“We're running on three strikers at the moment and at one stage on Tuesday I thought I would be playing Dion Dublin up front on his own and flooding the midfield, which makes it more difficult to get opportunities behind the defence.

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“We sent Ched home that morning because he was suffering from a virus, but he got off his sickbed to play. I told Ched if he could play for an hour he would be doing really well but he lasted 90 minutes. That shows the determination of the players here at the moment.”

Cureton's return after keyhole surgery would certainly ease the workload on 38-year-old Dublin, who scored his seventh goal of the season in the 1-1 draw against Hull, and Evans, who has scored six times in 15 appearances since arriving on loan from Manchester City.

“Jamie has a decent chance of making the bench. It's been a miraculous recovery for him,” said Roeder.

“The first team players were off yesterday but we put on another training session for Jamie with the rest of the players to see how he is.”

On-loan defender Matthew Bates' return to Middlesbrough for a knee operation - ruling him out for the rest of the season - forces Roeder into at least one change to the team that started the game against Hull, with Jon Otsemobor looking certain to return at right-back.

City will be protecting a 13-match unbeaten run in the league against a Leicester side in 20th place, beaten in their last three games.

“Every game unbeaten gives them that extra one per cent belief that they can keep it going,” said Roeder, who is not planning to raid the loan market again to bring in a replacement for Bates.

The goalless draw between the two sides at Carrow Road four weeks ago produced some fiery exchanges on the touchline between Roeder and Leicester boss Ian Holloway, but that was then and this is now.

“It is part of my job to make sure I protect my players and staff if I feel things are not as they should be,” said Roeder. “But the game is not won on the touchline. As far as I am concerned, I will be looking at what's going on out on the pitch and not interested in anything else in the stadium.

“The game against Leicester was as good as we have played over 90 minutes. Even Ian Holloway had to admit it was the most one-sided goalless draw he'd seen.”

The arrival of new loan signings has meant several senior players having to sit on the sidelines, with Mo Camara rested for the Hull game, Darren Huckerby yet to start a league game this year and Matty Pattison on the bench for the last five matches.

“It has made them realise that the most important thing to me is the team, the team, the team,” said Roeder.

“I want them to be disappointed if they don't play but to contain that disappointment because the team will always come first.

“When we are long gone, all of us, I hope and believe Norwich City will still be here. The club is paramount for everybody.”

Tomorrow's match is ticket only for visiting fans so Norwich supporters are advised not to travel without tickets.

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