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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 09:06 GMT 10:06 UK
Colchester target big finish
By Caroline Cheese

Colchester strike pair Jamie Cureton (left) and Chris Iwelumo- picture courtesy of Colchester United FC
Colchester's little and large strike pair have enjoyed a prolific season
While Reading are this season's Premiership surprise package, the Championship honour must go to Colchester.

With seven games remaining, the U's still harbour a distant hope of sneaking into the play-offs and have every chance of finishing above East Anglia rivals Norwich and Ipswich.

You would have got very long odds on that when Geraint Williams' newly-promoted side began the season with four straight defeats in the league and an early Carling Cup exit at the hands of League Two outfit MK Dons.

Colchester's success is in no small part down to the little and large strikeforce of Chris Iwelumo (6ft 4in) and Jamie Cureton (5ft 6in).

Cureton has bagged 16 league goals, one more than his strike partner, and either could yet walk away with this season's golden boot.

EAST ANGLIA TABLE
10 Colchester P39 Pts 56
15 Norwich P38 Pts 50
16 Ipswich P38 Pts 48
as at 27 March 2007
"We just clicked really," Cureton said of his partnership with Iwelumo.

"It's your classic target man and little guy and we just seem to work well together. It's hard to explain."

Having one prolific striker, let alone two, is something of a novelty for Colchester fans, who have not seen a player score more than 20 goals for the club since Tony Adcock achieved the feat 22 years ago.

Cureton needs three more, while Iwelumo is another two behind.

"I did know about that before the season started," said Cureton. "It wasn't my target exactly but as the season has gone on, I've started thinking about it.

"Now I've set my sights on getting it and I'm confident I can get the three and hopefully a couple more as well."

606: DEBATE
Cureton's success at Colchester marks quite a dramatic change of fortune.

"This is probably the best form I've been in," commented the 31-year-old.

"I had really good spells at Bristol Rovers and then Reading in my early career but after I left Reading, it went a bit crazy.

"I went to Korea for a bit and then QPR, which I enjoyed but I didn't really settle, and then Swindon last year, which didn't go well."

Indeed, it was while he was at Swindon that Cureton enjoyed his first taste of life at Layer Road in a loan spell, before heading there permanently in the summer after the Robins were relegated to League Two.

RACE FOR THE GOLDEN BOOT
Chopra (Cardiff) 21
Kamara (West Brom) 19
Rasiak (Southampton) 18
Earnshaw (Norwich) 17
Cureton (Colchester) 16
Howard (Derby) 16
Iwelumo (Colchester) 15
Cureton admits he never dreamed this season would go so well - either for him or the club.

"I am a bit surprised at how well it's gone," he revealed.

"We all went into the season with hopes of staying up but when we didn't start well, it was a shock to the system.

"But as the season has gone on, we've adjusted to this division and we feel we belong at this level now."

Having hit a high of sixth earlier in the season, Colchester have wobbled a little of late and, as of 27 March, they are eight points off the play-off places.

"We know there's still a chance of the play-offs," stated Cureton.

"If we can sneak in, it would be a massive opportunity but all we've said to ourselves is we'll try and win as many games as possible out of the last seven so we can end the season on a high.

"If that takes us into the play-offs, that's great. If not, we still know we will have had a very good season."



The Coca-Cola Football League Championship Table
30 January 2010 19:21
    P GD PTS
1 Newcastle 27 27 56
2 Nottm Forest 28 23 52

3 West Brom 27 26 50
4 Cardiff 27 22 45
5 Swansea 27 3 42
6 Sheff Utd 27 4 41

7 Blackpool 27 10 40
8 Leicester 26 2 39
9 Middlesbrough 28 7 37
10 Bristol City 27 -4 36
11 Preston 26 -2 35
12 QPR 27 -4 34
13 Doncaster 26 -1 33
14 Coventry 28 -8 33
15 Barnsley 26 -8 33
16 Scunthorpe 27 -13 33
17 Watford 26 -6 32
18 Derby 28 -11 32
19 Sheff Wed 28 -12 31
20 Crystal Palace 27 2 30
21 Ipswich 27 -8 29

22 Reading 27 -16 26
23 Plymouth 26 -14 24
24 Peterborough 28 -19 18

SEE ALSO
The season's biggest success?
01 Feb 07 |  Colchester United
U's consider Ipswich groundshare
01 Mar 07 |  Colchester United
Colchester get stadium go-ahead
14 Nov 06 |  Colchester United
Williams nets Championship prize
05 Oct 06 |  Colchester United


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