EVERGREEN CURETON IS HUNGRY FOR TOFFEE TEST
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