As Glenn Roeder's seach for his elusive target man continues to take many a twist and turn – the latest arriving from south of the border this evening – so Canary striker Jamie Cureton had admitted how hard life is without a big, physical presence to lead the line.
Tonight it was revealed that Ipswich's pursuit of Roeder's long-time favourite Shola Ameobi had hit a big snag after the 26-year-old failed a medical; all bets are now off after the hamstring the 26-year-old tweaked in Newcastle's pre-season tour to Mallorca came back to haunt his proposed ?2.5 million switch to Portman Road.
Indeed, it could yet rule him out of competitive action until after this summer's transfer window slams shut in a fortnight's time.
This evening and it was reported that Town chiefs were busily trying to keep the deal alive; in fairness to Roeder, he made an “eductaed guess” on Friday that Ameobi's proposed switch might hit a hic-cup or two.
His own pursuit of a target man to partner one from Cureton, Arturo Lupoli and Omar Koroma has hardly been plain sailing either – Rosenborg's refusal to part with their star striker Steffen Iversen until after their own, domestic season finishes later this autumn today found the Canaries linked to a new target, Bury's Andy Bishop.
According to The Daily Star, the 25-year-old was a reported ?750,000 target for the Norfolk club; he does have 'previous' with Roeder – having twice scored against the Canaries in last season's FA Cup third round double header. He bagged one in the 1-1 draw at Carrow Road when leading the line on his own; he grabbed a second in the 2-1 win for the Shakers back at Gigg Lane.
Either way, life's not easy for Cureton right now minus the Chris Iwelumo-type foil he so enjoyed at Colchester.
“It's hard,” said the firm Canary favourite, speaking after Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackpool.
“We haven't got a big man, so it's [a case] of trying to lead the line and run channels – I'm trying to do as much as I can. And I felt today I gave everything; I didn't have anything left to give, to be honest.”
In the end, it needed second-half substitute Darel Russell to provide the required physical presence to bundle that close-range header home. He is, you sense, at best a short-term fix.
“I think the gaffer's just looking for someone with a presence,” said Cureton. “And I think that's the problem. We haven't got that so-called 'big man'. And I think it's quite obvious to see – we do need that type. Because we all probably prefer to play with a big man.
“But it doesn't have to be someone that's big. It's someone that can literally put himself about; win the headers and cause problems. And at the moment we haven't got that. I think Rusty [Russell] probably can do a job – but it's not the job that he wants to do. He's a central midfielder.”
A decent six-footer, Bishop fits the 'big man' billing. What is interesting is the way that Shakers boss Alan Knill opted not to risk his star man for this weekend's trip to Chesterfield after the player complained of a slight thigh strain.
The fact that Knill has already bolstered his front-line with the arrival of Andy Morrell – and still racked up a big away win minus Bishop – all smacks of a club preparing to part with their star turn.
Speaking after Saturday's 3-1 win over Chesterfield, Knill was clearly delighted by the message it sent out to his League Two rivals – that his Shakers were still a force to be reckoned with minus Bishop.
It could, of course, be a message that was equally designed to be heard by the Bury supporters – particularly if the Shakers were of a mind to cash their Bishop chips in before the transfer window slammed shut.
Likewise, given the dearth of Bishop-type target men out there, Bury know that they are playing to a captive audience and can demand top dollar whilst the likes of a Norwich are in such desperate need of a six-foot physical presence.
“I think it was a massive statement for two reasons: that we're ready for this season, and that we're not a one-man team,” Knill told reporters afterwards.
“Everyone keeps saying we're all about Andy Bishop but we're not, and we showed that. A fit Andy Bishop makes us a better team but without him on Saturday I think we put down a marker to everybody that we've got a decent squad that's going the right way.”
Bishop bagged 17 goals for the Shakers last season – above the 15, 16 goal minimum Roeder set Cureton and Co after this weekend's latest nightmares in front of goal.
Back at Gigg Lane and Knill's comments don't half smack of a man laying the ground-work for Bishop's impending exit. A 'slight thigh strain' can cover a multitude of transfer sins – particularly if a club recognise that they are just days away from a potential ?750,000 windfall.
“We want to take the pressure off Andy so Andy Morrell has come in and I thought he and Glynn Hurst were excellent,” added Knill. “It's great for us to bring in Andy Morrell in time, he's a top player. That's great competition now for those two places up front and that's what we want.”
In the meantime, of course, it was left to Cureton to bear the burden.
“I felt I played well – obviously I had the one chance that I felt I should have done better with – but [if we'd have scored a goal] it would have changed everything,” he said, after his 30th minute one-on-one with the Seasiders keeper didn't end as all would have wanted – with the classic, clinical Cureton finish he produced against Premiership giants Spurs earlier this summer.
He also saw a fifth minute snap-shot rise up and slap the bar – only for Wes Hoolahan to blaze the rebound wide.
“If we were to score one of those early on and we're one-up then I think the whole atmosphere changes; confidence starts to come up; you try more things; you're more comfortable on the ball. That's the thing – it would change everything.”
Cureton is sufficiently switched on to all things Norwich to know that this is an issue that haunted the club last season. And, indeed, ones before. It is a long-running sore that someone, somewhere, has to address.
“If we wouldn't have had the sort of season that we had last year people maybe might accept it a bit more – and the pressure doesn't keep mounting,” said Cureton.
“We're only two league games in, but we're talking today like we're in a crisis again – and I think that's a reflection from last year.”