Jamie’s boots are made for scoring
CHRIS LAKEY Jamie Cureton has his sights set on another Golden Boot after blasting City to their first Championship win of the campaign on Saturday.
Jamie Cureton has his sights set on another Golden Boot after blasting City to their first Championship win of the campaign on Saturday.
Cureton took his tally to four goals, with a brace in the 2-1 win over Southampton coming hot on the heels of his midweek Carling Cup double against Barnet.
The 31-year-old hitman won his third Golden Boot last season, scoring 23 league goals for Colchester before a £1m summer switch back to the club he left almost 11 years ago.
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And the good news for City is that after a career scrapping around the lower divisions for goals, Cureton is getting better with age.
“I feel as fit as I have ever felt, if not fitter,” he said. “I am playing the best football I have played - last year was the best I played and I have tried to just continue that, so the age to me is not a problem.
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“As a young lad I made wrong decisions, I did things people didn't like, but you learn like that. I have had to go down the leagues and battle around and scrap for things. I have had a very different career, but I have always remained focussed I can do a job and at last it has obviously paid off. I have tried to carry my game on from last season. It was important not to rest on my laurels. I wanted to keep improving, so coming to this season I was obviously full of confidence and just wanted to keep that going. It is a different type of pressure since I came here. I was confident I could live up to it and so far chances have come my way and I have taken them.”
A Golden Boot would clearly prove that Cureton truly is back at his spiritual home, where the Carrow Road crowd delighted in chanting his name on Saturday.
“It would be very nice,” said Cureton, who also picked up the leading marksman award during his spells at Bristol Rovers and Reading. “I have three - I don't want to be too greedy but I would take a fourth.”
The return to his first hunting ground and scoring in front of the Barclay has been little short of a fairytale, but despite his experience, Cureton admits there are high expectations.
“It is brilliant, any goal is great, but obviously as a new player coming in, the price tag on my head, the golden boot, with Earnie (Robert Earnshaw) leaving, there is a lot of pressure,” he said.
“It is totally different to what I had last year - last year was a free sort of season when no one expected anything. This year they are going to expect me to score.
“It is nice to get them early and get them out of the way. Four goals have come at home and I am delighted at that, but doing that I am adding more pressure on myself - but that is what I am here to do.”
City were trailing at half-time to a Kenwyne Jones goal just past the half-hour mark, and were perhaps lucky not to go two down when goalkeeper David Marshall fumbled an Andrew Surman shot which Southampton claimed then went over the line. Referee Clive Oliver didn't give it and within minutes Cureton had levelled, firing home after a free-kick when Saints keeper Kelvin Davis picked up a back pass.
Only two top-drawer saves by Davis denied Cureton and half-time sub mark Fotheringham, but a piece of brilliance from Cureton sealed the points with less than 20 minuets to go.
“I'm greedy and would have liked a hat-trick but I'll take twos at the moment,” Cureton added. “Hopefully along the line a hat-trick will come along.
“The first goal I just tried to get an angle where I could get a clean strike at goal. I felt if I could hit it well enough I would probably put it the one place no one could get it.
“The second one was an opportunist strike. I got it in the box, managed to bring it down and as soon as I got it down I knew I was hitting it. Obviously I caught it very sweet again and the keeper just couldn't get enough on it.”
Canaries boss Peter Grant accused Cureton of a lack of professionalism in midweek when he went for goal rather than setting up David Strihavka - but the striker played down their tiff.
“You make decisions in games, right or wrong, and I am sure I will make a wrong decision again,” he said. “I didn't do it purposely to upset the team, I just made the decision that I wanted to score a goal and didn't pass. Another day I will pass and maybe should have shot. You make these decisions - this is a big club and expectations are high and the manager demands high standards.
“He expects me to make the right decision and obviously sometimes you are not going to do that. He has worked at a top level where players see things. I obviously made a wrong decision in his eyes and he made me aware of it.”