Chris tips strike partner to reach 20

CHRIS Iwelumo is keeping his fingers crossed that his strike-force partner Jamie Cureton reaches the 20-goal landmark this season.And the big Scotsman believes that Cureton could haunt hosts Derby County for a second time at Pride Park tonight, in front of the Sky TV cameras.

By Carl Marston

CHRIS Iwelumo is keeping his fingers crossed that his strike-force partner Jamie Cureton reaches the 20-goal landmark this season.

And the big Scotsman believes that Cureton could haunt hosts Derby County for a second time at Pride Park tonight, in front of the Sky TV cameras.

Both Iwelumo and Cureton have totalled 15 goals this campaign, but the taller member of this little-and-large partnership believes that his colleague will finish as the club's top scorer.


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Cureton kick-started his season with a hat-trick in the U's 4-3 win over visiting Derby at the end of August. Iwelumo weighed in with the other as Geraint Williams' men pocketed their first-ever points in the Championship.

“That result really got us going. It was our first win, and we took it from there,” explained Iwelumo last night.

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“Both Jamie (Cureton) and I scored our first goals of the season in that game, and we have been on a scoring spree ever since.

“I hope that Jamie gets to 20 goals. He deserves to, and the team has had such a fantastic season that someone deserves to get there.

“I haven't ruled out my chances of also getting to that target, but I'd like to set up Jamie for a few more,” added Iwelumo.

Ex-Brighton and Stoke striker Iwelumo is actually enduring his longest barren spell without a goal this term - he has not scored in the last six matches.

Cureton is also finding goals a little bit more difficult to come by, having bagged just one in his last seven appearances. Both strikers have scored just twice since the turn of the year.

“I don't mind not scoring, so long as we win. A few others have started scoring, which is important,” continued Iwelumo.

“We have already reached our main target for the season, which is to get past 50 points. We are still in good shape, and we want to finish on a good run.

“It's a big ask to take points off the bigger teams away from home. But we have a good chance to impress in front of the Sky TV cameras.

“We were fantastic against Ipswich (1-0 win) on Sky TV, although we were a bit disappointing at Coventry (2-1 defeat).”

Manager Geraint Williams has no new injury worries - Marino Keith remains the only long-term casualty. However, the Welshman might consider making a change or two to his starting line-up, especially after the 3-0 defeat at Plymouth in the last away outing.

United were very poor at Home Park. It was their 12th defeat in 19 games on the road this season, and they have mustered just 13 points from a possible 51 away from Layer Road.

In fact, only Luton, Barnsley and the bottom two clubs Leeds and Southend have picked up fewer points on their travels.

Midfielder Johnnie Jackson is pushing for a recall, having been dropped for the goal-less home draw against Burnley last Saturday. Front-runners Hogan Ephraim and Jamie Guy are also pushing for a rare start, having spent most of their time on the bench.

If the U's can upset the odds and celebrate a fourth away win tonight, then they would leapfrog Stoke City into ninth spot, and move to within four points of the play-offs. It would also give them their first league double of the campaign.

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