Saints trip is good timing for Cureton

Chris Lakey Jamie Cureton is hoping it's doubles all round tonight when Norwich City travel to his “lucky” club Southampton.

Chris Lakey

Jamie Cureton is hoping it's doubles all round tonight when Norwich City travel to his "lucky" club Southampton.

The Canaries striker had to wait 12 years for his first crack at the Saints - and has now scored five times in three games against them, including the pair which gave City victory in their first home game of the current campaign.

A win tonight would give the Canaries their first double of the season and help stretch that five-point gap between City and the relegation zone as the season heads for its final stretch.

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But Cureton knows just one thing stands between him and a devil of a night for Saints - a return to the form which earned him a Championship-best tally of 23 goals last season.

It's been five games without a goal for the 32-year-old, leaving him dreaming of a return to the form which saw him make such a spectacular home debut back in August after his summer move from Colchester.

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"That was obviously the early part of the season - everything was rosy and we thought we were going to be flying along and since then a lot of changes have happened," said Cureton. "But they are a team I have enjoyed playing against - if we can get the result we got earlier in the season it would be great.

"It was a massive occasion for me - first game back in the league and to score two and to win it was a really big thing and I thought, 'yes, I'm off and flying and the season's going to carry on where it left off last year'.

"But it's been one of those again, ups and downs throughout the whole season. Things have not really gone as well as I would have liked, but lately as a team things have been going well. We are unbeaten - we just have to turn a few draws into wins, but we are still a much better side than we were earlier on."

After that early promise against Southampton, City's season went to pieces and it has needed play-off form since the arrival of Glenn Roeder at the end of October to give the team hope of survival.

The Canaries have gone nine league games unbeaten and have won two and drawn two of their last four away.

"I think we are a much better side away from home," he said. "Sometimes we play better away than we do at home at the moment. I think we are a side now which, over the last few months since the new gaffer has come in, does create a lot of chances."

The problem for Cureton is converting the chances, which he did with his eyes closed for Colchester last term, including one in a 2-0 home win over the Saints, and both in a 2-1 win on the south coast.

"You try and sit down and think about it, but in general there is never one answer - maybe I haven't hit something as clean as I have before, a bit of luck here and there," Cureton said. "In general it is quite hard, you just have these seasons where everything goes in then you have others where it tends not to.

"For me I think it has probably been the last six weeks where I have had a period of games where I don't really understand why I am missing them, then I had Scunthorpe and Wolves where I thought, 'I've scored a couple, I'm back on track', then I get another couple of chances and I miss them.

"It has just been one of those seasons so far, I haven't had a clear run of scoring every week, it's been on and off, and I have been disappointed.

"I get very frustrated and annoyed because I know I should be scoring them, then it's a case of, 'right, I want to get to the next game as quick as possible'. Once the game is over I am alright and I tend to go into the next game believing I will score again.

"I am one of those who is frustrated at that moment, as obviously everyone can see at the time I have been missing them. Once I have gone home and got back into training I am basically gearing up to have another go at it."

Cureton, who famously dyed his hair green for a derby match against Ipswich in 1996 during his first spell at Carrow Road, has recently sported a shaved head, but insists nothing should be read into it.

"The last few weeks I got a bit fed up, thought I'd cut it off - I have had a bit of banter saying I'd wanted to cleanse my soul and start afresh but I've just had a bit of fun and thought why not?" he said. "You never know, my luck might change. If it does I might have to keep it."

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