Chris confidence in Jamie

CHRIS Iwelumo is confident that his old strike-force partner, Jamie Cureton, will continue to score goals for fun next season, despite the break-up of their prolific little-and-large partnership.

By Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

CHRIS Iwelumo is confident that his old strike-force partner, Jamie Cureton, will continue to score goals for fun next season, despite the break-up of their prolific little-and-large partnership.

Yesterday's EADT broke the story of Iwelumo's impending move to Charlton Athletic, which was officially signed and sealed in the morning.

The Scotsman, after two terrific seasons at Colchester United, has signed a three-year deal with newly-relegated Charlton, who will be playing against the U's in the Championship next term. Iwelumo's two-year contract with the U's expired at the end of this latest campaign.

“I'd like to thank Colchester for giving me the chance to get back into English football,” insisted Iwelumo last night.

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“It's down to Colchester that I'm in the position that I now find myself. I think that we were good for each other, and I'd like to think that I repaid their faith in me over the last couple of years.

“Obviously it's part and parcel of football that players move on, and it's just another chapter in the Chris Iwelumo story.

“I'm going to a club with high expectations, but I'm leaving a very good Colchester team who came so close to getting into the play-offs last season.

“There's a lot of quality at Colchester, and I'm sure that Jamie (Cureton) will continue to score a lot of goals next season. He's a natural finisher, and it's been great to play alongside him,” added Iwelumo.

The U's potent strike-force netted 42 goals between them last season. Cureton lifted the Golden Boot with 24 goals, aided by a further 18 from target man Iwelumo. They were easily the most prolific double act in the Championship.

Now, however, Iwelumo will be spearheading the front-line at Charlton, which means a reunion with Phil Parkinson, the man who originally signed him from German club Alemania Aachen during the summer of 2005. Parkinson is the assistant manager at The Valley.

Iwelumo continued: “Phil (Parkinson) is a big factor in me signing for Charlton. I have a lot of respect for him. It was he who brought me back from Germany and gave me my chance.

“It will be good to team up with Phil again. It's an exciting move for me, and Charlton will have high expectations of going straight back up into the Premiership. Phil and I have always had a great relationship.

“It's just a relief that it's all been sorted out now, just two weeks after the end of the season.

“It means I can go away and relax with the family, rather than still be facing an uncertain future in July.

“I had quite a few offers, but there was also a lot of paper talk, which I didn't pay much attention to.

“But these last two years at Colchester have been very enjoyable, probably the best of my career, and I'd like to say a big thank you to the fans,” added Iwelumo.

Meanwhile Charlton boss, Alan Pardew, admits that he has landed a real coup in the transfer market by snapping up U's gem Iwelumo.

Pardew enthused: “Chris has a great goalscoring record. The fact he is a free transfer, because he's out of contract, represents a fantastic bit of business for the club.”

The Addicks, who finished second from bottom in the top flight last season, also completed the signing of front-runner Luke Varney yesterday, for an initial £2m fee from Crewe.

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