The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Joshua Richards

TWENTY-TWO years ago striker Jamie Cureton made his pro­fes­sional de­but for Nor­wich City against Ever­ton, hop­ing it would be the start of a long ca­reer in the topflight.

Though that failed to ma­te­ri­alise, the 40-yearold has gone on to forge a liv­ing as a Foot­ball League stal­wart.

And now as he pre­pares to play at Good­i­son Park for the first time when Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge travel to Mersey­side to face the Tof­fees in the FA Cup third round, Cureton can­not wait to test him­self against the elite again.

“It’s great at my age to have a new chal­lenge,” said the ev­er­green goal poacher.

“You’ve got Tim Howard who has played for a long time at the top level, then you have a tal­ent like John Stones who looks like he is go­ing to play for Eng­land for a long time and no doubt have a great ca­reer.

“Com­ing up against some­one like him, it’s nice to test your­self and see if you’ve still got it at that level. It’s a great oc­ca­sion and we’re all keen to give a good ac­count of our­selves.

“I made my pro­fes­sional de­but against Ever­ton in Novem­ber 1994. I came on as a sub when I was play­ing for Nor­wich, but I’ve never ac­tu­ally played at Good­i­son Park.

“There aren’t many grounds I haven’t played at and be­fore the draw I was look­ing at that and think­ing what a great draw Ever­ton would be.

“It’s an­other one to cross off the list.

“It’s great for me on a per­sonal level and it’s why we all love foot­ball and the FA Cup.”

But can the League Two strug­glers pos­si­bly top­ple Romelu Lukaku and his in­ter­na­tional team-mates?

“There’s likely to be a shock on the day, we want to be it,” added Cureton, whose team needed re­plays against More­cambe and White­hawk to reach round three.

“We go there with free­dom. They would have to have an off day and we would have to have a bril­liant day, but th­ese things do hap­pen. That’s the magic of the cup.

“We will do what we can, but we know they have enough to beat us. We will see what hap­pens.

“We’ve ar­guably played our best in the cups this year, we did well in the John­stone’s Paint Tro­phy, too.

“The FA Cup has been good for us, but be­cause the league form has not been good no-one has spo­ken about it, but you can feel there is a buzz.

“A lot of the play­ers haven’t played at that level be­fore against in­ter­na­tion­als. But we can switch off from the pres­sure of the league and just enjoy the day up there.”

While Cureton is the Dag­gers’ vet­eran on the play­ing side, new boss John Still is their golden oldie in the man­ageral ranks.

The for­mer Lu­ton man­ager, 65, re­turned for his third spell in charge at the East Lon­don club on New Year’s Eve and will be ea­ger to plot Ever­ton’s down­fall.

GOAL-DEN OLDIE: Jamie Cureton is still bang­ing them in for Da­gen­ham & Red­bridge

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