Cureton has nothing to prove

COLCHESTER United hot-shot Jamie Cureton insists that he has “nothing to prove” when making his long-awaited return to Carrow Road tonight.Front-runner Cureton began his career at Norwich, emerging from their youth team ranks in 1993.

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United hot-shot Jamie Cureton insists that he has “nothing to prove” when making his long-awaited return to Carrow Road tonight.

Front-runner Cureton began his career at Norwich, emerging from their youth team ranks in 1993. He left three years later to join Bristol Rovers but, remarkably, this evening will be the first time that he has returned to his old club as an opposing player.

Cureton is bang in form at the moment, blasting home the sixth goal of the season to seal a 2-0 home victory over George Burley's Southampton on Saturday.

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Now the 31-year-old has his sights set on scoring against his old club, and so continuing the U's fantastic start to their first-ever season in the Championship.

“Norwich away was the first fixture that I looked out for when the fixtures came out over the summer,” admitted Cureton.

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“It will be an emotional return for me but it's important that I remain level-headed and don't let myself get carried away by the occasion.

“I hope that I will get a good reception from the Norwich fans. Norwich was my first club, and where I scored my first goal. I didn't do anything to annoy them, so I shouldn't get much stick.

“When I was playing for Reading, they gave me a great reception when they visited our place. I'm hoping for the same again,” added Cureton.

The U's leapfrogged Norwich in the Championship table, thanks to their Layer Road triumph over Southampton and the Canaries' capitulation at Stoke (5-0 defeat).

Geraint Williams' men are up to 10th spot, although it's very tight in the middle of the table. In fact, only two points separate Colchester from Norwich, who are down in 18th position.

Williams is unlikely to make any changes this evening. Kevin McLeod and Johnnie Jackson came in for Richard Garcia (suspended) and Kevin Watson (calf injury) against the Saints, and both are expected to retain their places. Left-winger McLeod marked his first start with the opening goal after just three minutes.

It might be too soon for Watson to return tonight, while Garcia picked up an ankle injury in addition to a one-match ban in the defeat at Coventry.

Cureton admits that he is surprised to see his old club below the U's in the table. But he isn't complaining!

“Norwich got thrashed 5-0 at Stoke, so they will be very keen to bounce back,” continued Cureton.

“Norwich are a club who should be pushing for a promotion place at the top of the table. They have a new manager (Peter Grant) and he won't be happy with Saturday's performance.

“I admit that I am surprised to see us sitting above Norwich in the table. Everyone in the country seemed to be predicting us to go straight back down this season.

“We know that we have to play to our very maximum every week, just to get a result, and fortunately that's what has been happening.

“We are not blessed with a lot of match-winners in our team, so it's all about us being on top of our game all of the time. If we don't do that then we will get beaten, as was the case at Coventry (2-1 defeat in the last away game).

“I'm looking forward to playing at Carrow Road again. It will nice to play against my old team. I still have a lot of old friends living in the city but I have nothing to prove.

“My career has gone well, so I have no regrets,” concluded Cureton.

Bristol-born Cureton scored six goals in 29 league games for the Canaries, 16 of them as a substitute, before his £250,000 move to Bristol Rovers in 1996. He netted 72 league goals for Rovers and 50 more for Reading, before arriving at Layer Road via further stints at QPR and Swindon.

Cureton celebrated his 150th career league goal with the opener in a 4-0 defeat of Sheffield Wednesday on October 18.

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