Five more goals would suit Jamie
COLCHESTER United hot-shot Jamie Cureton wants to end the season with a bang, by scoring at least five goals in the last eight matches.Cureton has already had to revise his personal target for the campaign, after chalking up his 15th goal in the 3-0 win at Barnsley a month ago.
By Carl Marston
COLCHESTER United hot-shot Jamie Cureton wants to end the season with a bang, by scoring at least five goals in the last eight matches.
Cureton has already had to revise his personal target for the campaign, after chalking up his 15th goal in the 3-0 win at Barnsley a month ago. That was one of only three away wins for the U's from 21 games on the road.
Like his strike-force partner, Chris Iwelumo, the former Norwich, Bristol Rovers and Reading marksman has struggled for goals in recent weeks. But he wants to put the record straight at Southampton tonight.
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“Before the start of the season, I set myself a target of 15 goals, which I've already reached. So I've since set myself a new one,” revealed Cureton last night.
“I'd like to get to 20 goals. I haven't done that for a while, not since my days at Reading, and it's been a while since a Colchester United player has scored that many.
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“It means that I now need to score five goals in my last eight matches. That's a tall order, but I've gone on goal-sprees in the past, and I believe that I can do it again.
“We have all found goals more difficult to come by since the turn of the year. Teams have tended to keep it tight when they come to Layer Road, so there haven't been that many chances.
“I'd rather be getting chances and missing them, than not getting them at all. Teams were coming to Layer Road and thinking that they could beat us quite easily, so they played with freedom. That's not the case now,” added Cureton.
Front-runner Cureton missed the 2-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night, because of a sore calf, but he has since returned to training and he should start at St Mary's Stadium tonight.
Left-winger Kevin McLeod will miss out, because of a stomach bug, while skipper Karl Duguid is rated as very doubtful after injuring his knee at Hillsborough. Duguid went to have a scan yesterday, to determine whether or not he has a bony growth on the top of his knee cap.
Manager Geraint Williams will make changes, therefore, and Cureton will be leading from the front as the team bid to make amends for a 5-1 defeat at Derby County, which was the last time they appeared on Sky TV a fortnight ago. Tonight's match will again be screened live on Sky Sports.
“I had a little niggle in my calf before the Coventry game (0-0 draw last weekend). I played through it, but I aggravated the injury a little,” continued Cureton.
“To play three games in six days was going to be a big ask, so we decided that it was best if I rested for the Sheffield Wednesday game. It feels a lot better now.
“Of course I don't like missing games, and this week was only the second league match that I have missed all season (the other was the 3-2 defeat at Ipswich on January 20). I don't want to miss any more, if I can help it.
“We didn't perform at Derby, in front of the Sky TV cameras, from start to finish. It was a heavy defeat. But we want to show people that what we have already achieved this season has been no fluke,” added Cureton.
Last October, Cureton scored his sixth goal of the season in the 2-0 win over Southampton. The U's were in the middle of a remarkable run of 11 wins on the trot at Layer Road.
But the Saints were unlucky to lose that day, and U's boss Geraint Williams rates George Burley's men very highly.
“I consider Southampton to be the best footballing side in our division,” insisted Williams last night.
“I have spoken to several managers who have said the same, and that their team were lucky to nick a draw or a win against them.
“They have received more plaudits than any other team, but I bet George Burley would swap that for a top-two position,” added Williams.