Roeder chases two new strikers

David Cuffley Jamie Cureton kept up his goal per game pre-season record in front of a Carrow Road full house - but faces added competiton for his place after manager Glenn Roeder revealed that he is close to adding two new strikers to his Norwich City squad.

David Cuffley

Jamie Cureton kept up his goal per game pre-season record in front of a Carrow Road full house - but faces added competiton for his place after manager Glenn Roeder revealed that he is close to adding two new strikers to his Norwich City squad.

Cureton scored the Canaries' only goal in a 5-1 defeat by Premier League Tottenham Hotspur on a night when former Ipswich striker Darren Bent punished his old East Anglian rivals by scoring four times.

But Roeder plans to bolster City's own attacking armoury with a loan signing in the next 48 hours, and the permanent signing of a big target man, possibly before the Championship campaign kicks off at Coventry in 11 days' time.

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While Italian forward Arturo Lupoli, on loan from Fiorentina, missed the Spurs match because of delayed international clearance, Roeder insists he will have four strikers on duty for the new campaign.

He said: “There will be one in the next 48 hours. He is of 6ft stature but you wouldn't think of him as a big striker. He's just a beautiful mover, fantastic.

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“The manager who has helped us out on this transfer has done Norwich a big favour because we've watched this player twice in pre-season and he's been absolutely fantastic. He is a serious young player. He won't be a big name to any of us at the moment but hopefully he will have a good season here at Norwich.

“And the big striker that I'm targeting I still think I'll get, but it might take seven to 14 days to be able to get the club to sell him to us.”

Cureton, meanwhile, will keep plugging away after scoring in both tour matches in Sweden and again last night, operating as a lone striker, scoring a first-half equaliser against Spurs before Bent buried City with four goals in a row.

“I got my one chance today and took it so it's pleasing for me. I want as many goals as possible. It's good, it keeps confidence up,” said Cureton.

“I felt maybe I could have done a bit more during the game but it was hard because we didn't have a lot of the ball.

“But I'm judged on goals and I've had my one chance and taken it, so on that respect I'm pleased.

“We had to try something different because Arturo didn't get his clearance so the gaffer wanted to play something different. It's difficult. It's hard enough at the best of times but when you're playing against England internationals, it does make it harder.

“I felt we competed quite well in the first half but gave away two poor goals. In the second half, for some reason it didn't go to plan.

“We allowed them too much time and when you do that against teams of that class, they can hurt you.”

Roeder has been critical of Cureton's finishing in the past but praised him last night.

He said: “Although Ledley King will be disappointed he slipped, I thought Cureton finished that chance very well. I hope that bodes well for the coming season for him and for us.

“Last year he had a lot of chances like that and unfortunately the 'keeper saved them or they went wide or over, but you have to give credit where it's due, it was a terrific finish. He should have scored from there - strikers don't always but he did. He finished it very well.”

Lupoli's absence, like that of Scottish defender John Kennedy, was down to paperwork. Roeder hopes both will face Colchester at Carrow Road on Saturday (5pm).

“It is just a case of the Italian FA not pushing through his international clearance quickly,” he said of Lupoli. “We hope they'll do that in time for Saturday but there is no guarantee they will. We can't do anything about it. It's hugely frustrating - he was devastated he couldn't play tonight.”

But Kennedy should face Colchester after completing his loan move from Celtic for the first half of the season.

“We're hoping his international clearance will come through before Saturday so he can play a part. It's all done and dusted. He's our player,” said Roeder.

“I've met him twice now and he's a big physical presence and if anyone deserves any luck, not to pick up any more injuries, it's John Kennedy because he's had more than his fair share. But he's played well for Motherwell, he's pretty fit and we need him to play part of the game on Saturday.”

French striker Chris Makiese, from Lille, was not taken on after his trial in Sweden.

“We let him go back. He did well in the first game, and we thought he was just OK in the second game - and we need better than OK,” said Roeder.

Goalkeeper Stuart Nelson, an unused substitute last night, will play against King's Lynn in tonight's friendly at The Walks (7.45pm).

Said Roeder: “We'll look at him against King's Lynn. He's in there punching for a contract. He hasn't let himself down. Tommy Wright's quite impressed with him. We'll give Stuart a decision after the Colchester game.”

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