Cheltenham Town video: Veteran Cureton ready to give Robins a lift
ONE OF the most feared goalscorers in English football for two decades hopes he can provide a welcome shot in the arm to Cheltenham Town's stuttering season.
Jamie Cureton has scored 248 times in 715 career appearances and Crystal Palace's Kevin Phillips is the only active player in the country with more goals to his name.
Having arrived from Exeter City in the summer, Cureton took 18 minutes to open his scoring account for his 12th English professional club in the 2-2 draw with Burton Albion on August 3.
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But there was a price to pay as he landed awkwardly and dislocated his left shoulder, leaving him sidelined for five weeks.
He made a welcome return to the bench for Tuesday night's Johnstone's Paint Trophy tie against Plymouth Argyle and the 38-year-old is hoping to play some part in tomorrow's home match against Portsmouth.
Cheltenham have taken four points from their opening five League Two matches, conceding 11 goals.
Cureton hopes his eagerly-anticipated return can coincide with an upturn in fortunes for Mark Yates' side.
"It seems a long time since my debut, but the shoulder is feeling good and all the strength work has gone well," Cureton said.
"Any experience I can draw on and hand over to the boys I will and maybe I can give us a boost now by coming back and providing another body we need.
"Hopefully my general play can help the boys and give the manager another option."
Cureton described his shoulder injury as the most painful moment of his career, but he said if he was faced with the same situation again tomorrow, he would not do anything differently.
"The ball was there and all I was thinking about was scoring a goal," Cureton said.
"I landed awkwardly and I knew straight away something wasn't right.
"I've fractured my leg and had other knocks, but for instant pain, I never felt anything like this one.
"It took an hour and a half to get it back into place and I felt sick. I wouldn't wish that on anyone."
Cureton's rehabilitation included sessions in an oxygen chamber to speed up his recovery and he has also worked hard to strengthen the area with senior sports therapist Ian Weston and newly appointed strength coach Ian Hutton.
"I am back fit ahead of schedule and I think the four sessions I had in the oxygen chamber in the first two weeks helped," he said.
"The plan was to get me back as quickly as possible and it's all gone well.
"Mentally I feel fine too, but I won't know exactly how the shoulder is going to be until that first challenge and landing and that's going to the real test.
"It certainly doesn't feel like it's going to pop out again and it's been hard to sit and watch, so I can't wait to get back out there."
Cureton said he gave his former Exeter City team mate David Noble a glowing reference to Yates when he heard a loan move was possible for the Rotherham United man.
"I know what a good player David is and when I heard his name mentioned I put my tuppence worth in," Cureton said.
"He is outstanding at this level and he's going to be a very good acquisition."