Time was when three games without a goal might have found City striker Jamie Cureton getting a little twitchy; a mite anxious as to where the next one was coming from – would that barren run ever end….
Roll out the 2007 version of that one-time lively Canary youngster and the calm voice of experience emerges. At 32-years-old, he's been round the block enough to know that the goals will come.
“The last two games I haven't had too many chances,” said the Championship's leading marksman last year, reflecting on the 2-1 defeats to the cities of Hull and Cardiff.
“But then on Saturday I had a couple and I felt I definitely maybe should have scored one of them,” said Cureton, with the first of Jon Otsemobor's surging runs and pull-backs teeing up a classic, first-half chance up for the four-goal striker.
“The first one I should have hit the target and the second my touch was probably a bit too good and as I touched it, it stayed under my feet.
“But it was more pleasing to have the chances, to be honest. And I'm confident that I'll get goals.”
A minor knock sidelined him for the Carling Cup trip to Rochdale where, given the open nature of the night's contest, Cureton might have made a difference. The big hope is that the much-travelled striker's instinctive knack of being in the right place at the right time will return tonight as City head to The Valley and their first big test of the season away at Charlton.
Thus far, Norwich's opponents have been of the play-off hopeful variety; Charlton come straight out of the promotion-hopeful top drawer given their lengthy recent spell in the Premiership and their well-documented ability to throw ?17,000 a week at the feet of, say, City strike target Luke Varney.
Hence the need for Cureton to be on the money as and when a further chance presents itself. At places like The Valley, it might be a case of one chance and one chance only.
“Obviously, I don't want it to go on too many games, but three games so far isn't too bad. Once it gets over five then I not so much panic, but it starts to get annoying,” said Cureton, whose back-to-back doubles against Barnet and Southampton earned him the opening Player of the Month award for the season.
“But, no, I'm sure if we create a few more chances then I'm confident I can take them.”
A wiser head now sits on those shoulders. He's not about to go all angst-ridden and snatchy on everyone.
“You've got to deal with it – these things happen. You're not really going to score every week as much as you'd like to – so you're going to have to go through games and periods when you're not going to score.
“And I think it's important that while I'm doing that, I'm still offering something for the team.
“A while ago and in my younger days I probably wouldn't have done. As long as I still offer something, still help out and we're winning games, that's the most important thing.”
All eyes will be on that City front-line where City boss Peter Grant has a big decision to make as to whether he keeps faith with the goal-shy Chris Brown or whether David Strihavka's reward for his first goal in English football is a first start in English league football.
You can only presume that is amidst such tight debates, Cureton to start is a gimmee.
“I'm hoping I do – you never know what the manager is going to do,” said Alan Pardew's former charge, hoping to come back and haunt his ex-Reading boss this evening.
“But he's got options and he's said that he's going to use the squad because we've got a lot of games. I've just got to concentrate and hope that I'm playing; hopefully, who's ever playing will try and do their best; hopefully, we can get a run going now.”
Cureton shared everyone's delight at Strihavka's opening goal.
“He's had a tough time so far settling in and he's been getting frustrated, so very pleased for him. It's great to see him get that and, hopefully, that will give him a bit more confidence and settle him in a bit more.”
Whether it gives him the nod ahead of the luckless Brown is the next question. Cureton wasn't backing either horse. Whichever, was his diplomatic line.
“They've both got different qualities. I think they're probably better on the floor than people give them credit for.
“Obviously they're both big lads and are labelled as 'target men' but I would say that they offer a lot more than just that.”
There will, of course, be one, genuine old fashioned target man out there – Cureton's ex-Colchester United strike partner Chris Iwelumo. Pace is not something City need to worry about there; brute force banging at the door is more his style.
“He's a physical type player – he's not one of them that is going to run you in behind or stuff like that,” said Cureton.
“I think it's how we've played most centre-fowards this year. We haven't played against too many pacy ones at the moment, so if we just play as we did the other day – I thought the back four were great – and work off that strong base at the back then it will give us a chance to go on and win the game.”
At which point he can do all his reunions – Iwelumo, Pardew, Danny Mills, Phil Parkinson…
“It'll be good to see Chris,” said his former Us strike pal. “He's obviously got a couple of goals and they seem to be doing OK at the moment and I'm sure he's enjoying it.
“I've spoken to him a couple of times and it'll be nice to see him – and, hopefully, he doesn't have too good a game.”
Onwards and upwards was the message – buoyed by that huge home win against Palace. “We'd lost the last two games and we knew that if that carried on then it would have been a case of being in the bottom three – or making it in to the top half of the table. So it was a massive, massive three points.”
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