First day absence really bugs Jamie
Jamie Cureton was a frustrated man as his “real” City debut second time around ended before it had even begun. The City striker, back at the club after a decade away, fell victim to the illness which hampered preparations for the opener at Preston.
By CHRIS LAKEY
Jamie Cureton was a frustrated man as his “real” City debut second time around ended before it had even begun.
The City striker, back at the club after a decade away, fell victim to the illness which hampered preparations for the opener at Preston.
Having trained only twice last week, Cureton was left on the bench - and manager Peter Grant opted not to give him his first run-out in a Norwich shirt since May, 1996.
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What it would have meant to the 31-year-old is obvious - and what it would have meant for the travelling City contingent at Deepdale was equally clear as they gave him a rousing reception as he warmed up along the touchline.
Cureton's problems started with the club's barbecue eight days ago which left more than 30 staff poorly with a bug that has yet to be identified.
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“I just had bad sickness,” he said. “I went to bed Monday night and was just up all night being sick and everything. I haven't got a clue what caused it, I haven't been told, so I am not too sure. Someone said it was the food at first, then someone said it was a viral infection that someone had and we all caught.
“I trained Monday, didn't train Tuesday, had Wednesday off, came in on Thursday and was told to go back home. I did a run on Thursday and felt fine, and then I trained on Friday, but I would imagine the manager made his decision by then.
“I am disappointed to be honest because I've played all pre-season and everything had been fine and I felt good and then something silly like that comes along and I end up missing the first game and not even coming on. I am a bit annoyed.”
The supporters' reaction eased the pain - but the whole trip left a sour taste in the mouth.
“That was really nice to hear, but it would have been nice to have got on the pitch because I still haven't worn the shirt properly yet. It was frustrating because I don't like not playing at the best of times.”
To make matters worse, Cureton was probably the ideal man to conjure up a bit of individual magic on a day when both sides struggled in front of goal: City lacked invention while Preston strikers Brett Ormerod and Neil Mellor were simply off their game.
“I feel I can score in any game,” said Cureton. “No matter how the game is going or what type of game it is, I always feel confident I can score. I am always sitting there itching to get on and hoping to change it, but the manager has made his decision to not bring me on - that's life.”
Which left Cureton to become judge rather than Preston's executioner.
“It was a tough game - we probably didn't play as well as we can do,” he said. “But we have come to Preston, who are going to beat a lot of sides, and we have got a result. As opening days go I think we have got to take heart from that. We dug in very well, we defended very well, we probably didn't create as much as we would have liked but I think those sort of things will come.”
“Coming to a place like this on opening day to get a point and keep a clean sheet gives you something to build on.”