Yellow peril salutes Golden Boots

DAVID CUFFLEY The man with the Golden Boot is grabbing all the headlines - and the man with the bright yellow footwear would dearly love to help him write a few more.


The man with the Golden Boot is grabbing all the headlines - and the man with the bright yellow footwear would dearly love to help him write a few more.

Striker Jamie Cureton's matchwinning double against Southampton made it four goals in two games since his return to Carrow Road from Colchester.

And winger Lee Croft, whose cross set up Cureton for a stunning winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory over the Saints, is determined to stay part of the supply line for the player who topped last season's Coca-Cola Championship scoring charts with 23 goals.

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“Jamie's going to get a lot of goals this year,” said Croft. “I've been having a bit of banter with him, saying he wouldn't be scoring if it wasn't for me. I've set him up a few times.”

Croft also had a hand in Cureton's second goal in the 5-2 Carling Cup win over Barnet last Tuesday and is hugely impressed with his new team-mate.

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“He's someone who seems to have gelled in with everyone straightaway and another one I feel personally I've got a good understanding with. I know what he likes, he knows what I like and I'm sure he's going to do really well.

“In and around the box I don't think there are many people better than him. If he gets a chance, nine times out of 10 he'll put the ball away and it's great to have someone like him in the squad.”

Cureton joked that Croft's delivery could have been better.

He said: “I keep telling him if he could give me one tap-in I'd be happy. I've got to keep bringing things down and smashing them in.

“It's nice to play with an out-and-out winger. He gets to the line and whips things in and that's what I need. I rely on service. If I get the chances, I'm confident that I'll take them and so far they are coming.”

Manager Peter Grant left Croft out of his starting eleven for the opening match of the season at Preston as he sacrificed width in favour of a midfield diamond. But diamonds aren't forever and the former Manchester City man was back for the Carling Cup victory, retaining his place against George Burley's side.

Said Croft: “The gaffer set his stall out at Preston and I missed out. He went for three in midfield without the wingers, which was disappointed but the lads dug in with a good defensive display and we got a point.

“We came back, had a game in midweek, played some good attacking football, scored a few goals against Barnet and we showed great character here today.

“We didn't want the final whistle to go because we'd just started playing. In the last half an hour we were just getting into our rhythm and we started to enjoy ourselves and I think the crowd started to enjoy it as well.

“We started a bit sloppy. When we've got a big guy like Brownie up front there's a tendency just to hit him rather than play sometimes and the gaffer doesn't want that.

“Although we've got an option where we can find the target man and play off him, that really wasn't working in the first half. The ball was coming back at us a lot.

“But once the first goal went in, the game started to spread out. We started playing, we started passing and moving, breaking and I think that's what we do well. There was only one team going to win it once we got that goal.”

The 22-year-old Croft has found a new ally on the right flank in summer signing Jon Otsemobor, the full-back with a blistering burst of pace.

“Jon's a great defender, a great athlete and we've got a good understanding. I know when he's going to go round me, I know when he's going to support and I know I can rely on him,” said Croft.

“He'll push me further up the field because he can handle his one against one defending and it gives me a bit more leeway to gamble and get the ball and break, so we're enjoying playing with each other.

“I used to play against him in the Liverpool youth teams all the way through our younger days. He nearly broke my leg once, actually, in a reserve game. But he's a great player, someone who when I found out we were signing him, I was looking forward to playing with and I'm sure he's enjoying it as well.”

As for the yellow boots, Croft is not planning to change them.

He said: “The gaffer and a few of the lads have said to me 'You can't have a bad game in those boots', but luckily we're playing well at the moment. They seem to be good luck for me, so I'll keep them on.”

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