Garcia takes over

ONE goal-hero may have left, but another has already taken his place. Jamie Cureton is facing up to life back at relegation-haunted Swindon Town, following the end of his Layer Road loan spell at the turn of the year.

By Carl Marston

ONE goal-hero may have left, but another has already taken his place. Jamie Cureton is facing up to life back at relegation-haunted Swindon Town, following the end of his Layer Road loan spell at the turn of the year.

But, while Cureton is ready to help propel the Robins away from the relegation zone, his old team-mates are continuing their quest for promotion glory.

Bristol-born Cureton netted seven goals in nine starts for Colchester, contributing greatly to the U's rise from mid-table nobodies to top-six dwellers.


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Yet the U's did perfectly well without Cureton on Monday afternoon. Furthermore, his replacement Richard Garcia capped his second league start of the season with a wonder goal in the 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.

Phil Parkinson's men have something that they have been lacking in previous seasons, namely a squad with strength in depth.

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Former West Ham attacker Garcia is hoping to take his long-awaited chance, by forming a powerful partnership with Chris Iwelumo over the coming weeks.

Another striker, Gareth Williams, is relieved to even make the substitutes' bench at the moment, while players of the calibre of Kem Izzet, Pat Baldwin and Karl Duguid have also had to bide their time on the sidelines.

Garcia admitted that he nearly refrained from going for goal in the build-up to his stunning 20-yard strike to seal the fate of Forest.

“I was intending to take the ball towards the corner flag, to run down the clock,” confessed Garcia, who was starting only his fourth game of the campaign.

“But I looked up and saw that Forest's defence was looking a bit bare, so I decided to cut inside and have a shot. I hit it well enough, and I'm delighted to have scored.

“We deserved the win. Once again, we proved that we are very difficult to beat. We keep playing right to the end.”

Midfielder Neil Danns had broken the deadlock with a 71st-minute rocket, and although Forest striker Nathan Tyson plundered a 90th-minute equaliser, injury-time goals from Mark Yeates and Garcia wrapped up Colchester's 12th victory in 14 games.

Classy Garcia has now scored eight goals in 46 appearances for the U's, since his move from Upton Park in mid-September, 2004. But now he could be in line for a good run in the team.

Meanwhile, former U's favourite Cureton was plying his trade back with Swindon, at one of his favourite old haunts - Hartlepool United. The 30-year-old enjoyed his trip to Victoria Park a month ago, netting the only goal of the game from the narrowest of angles to secure a precious 1-0 win for Colchester.

Cureton did not repeat the dose at Hartlepool on Monday, although he was given a start by Robins boss Iffy Onuora. He was eventually substituted after 66 minutes of the 1-1 draw, having picked up a slight leg injury.

“I was pleased to go straight back into the side,” insisted Cureton, who spent most of his time on the bench before his loan move to Layer Road in October.

“I want to do my best for Swindon and we have managed to stay unbeaten over the Christmas period, which is fantastic.

“I spoke to the manager (Onuora) before the Colchester game (Boxing Day) at the County Ground, and we will have to wait and see what comes.

“As long as I am with Swindon, I will give it 100%. I am happy to stay,” added Cureton.

But U's boss Parkinson has not ruled out the possibility of Cureton returning to Layer Road later this season.

Meanwhile, the U's travel to Championship promotion contenders Sheffield United for an FA Cup third-round tie on Saturday. Visiting fans have already snapped up 700 tickets.

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