Cureton's the man to beat
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries boss Peter Grant has targeted ex-City hero Jamie Cureton as the man to stop as City resume Championship duties at Colchester tomorrow (Saturday).
Canaries boss Peter Grant has targeted ex-City hero Jamie Cureton as the man to stop as City resume Championship duties at Colchester tomorrow (Saturday)..
Cureton, who wrote himself into City folklore when he famously sported green hair in the 1996 derby against Ipswich, has hit 16 goals this season and Grant knows only too well the danger the diminutive front-man presents - much the same as the sidelined Robert Earnshaw.
“Every time he plays there is no surprise there,” said Grant. “He is a bit like Earnie, as long as he is on the pitch you know he is capable of knocking the ball in the net.
“I know him from his Reading days and I have always followed his career, because I love goalscorers, and he has always been one.
“I can always remember his green hair - he has been terrific throughout his career and he still looks as fit as he did all those years ago, probably fitter because he realises what a fantastic career it is.
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“He has always been a goal scorer wherever he has been. We know the threat they have and we know how difficult a place it is to go, but we go anywhere and anywhere in this division in difficult.”
The Canaries visit Layer Road for the first time in almost half a century knowing the Pride of Anglia crown is at stake - and with a warning from Grant ringing in their ears.
“They love beating the likes of Ipswich and they love beating the likes of Norwich because they feel they are so-called bigger clubs,” he said.
“If I was playing for Colchester I would be thinking the same thing, so let's put one over them.”
The house full signs are up at the 7,500-capacity Layer Road and Grant is expecting a derby atmosphere.
“Of course there is always that derby feeling,” said Grant. “It is a tough place to play, but it's a great place to play because it is an old ground. I love going there because of the atmosphere.
“People say you look at the crowd, it is only six or seven thousand, but it is full.
“We're really looking forward to it. It is a big game for us. We have won a couple of games on the bounce to get that winning mentality so it is two team going into the game on the back of victories.”
While the Canaries and old foes Ipswich have finally dragged themselves into the relative safety of mid-table, it's Geraint Williams' Colchester who have defied all odds to not only stay in the division, but to fly the flag for the region, sitting comfortably in 10th place.
“They have been terrific,” said Grant. “They have exceeded all expectations, not necessarily for myself because I have played against them often enough when I was at Reading and when I was at Bournemouth and even when I was at West Ham we played them in friendlies, so I know what it is like, I know what to expect of them.
“They are a team that has been together for a long time, have great experience of playing together, which is important. I think if you look at this division a lot of the teams that have been successful are the teams that have been together longer and Colchester know the way they play.
“They are in the position they deserve to be. The last game they go and beat Southampton - that is not by luck, it is by their performances and they have thoroughly deserved any luck they have had because of their performances. We know how tough they made it for us here.”