Megson braced for old-pal threat

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GARY Megson comes up against a former colleague and a current managerial rival at Hillsborough tomorrow.

The Owls manager and Exeter striker Jamie Cureton were together at Norwich in the 1990s.

Grecians boss Paul Tisdale has joined Megson on the list of contenders for the Football League’s League one Manager of the Month award for April. The winner is announced today.

Tisdale has led his team to five wins out of six games in April. Megson’s record during the month is four wins, two draws and a defeat.

The club also each have a 20-goal striker. Neil Mellor, of course, is Wednesday’s; Cureton is Exeter’s. Megson knows what a threat the 35-year-old can be.

“I do know Jamie Cureton really well,” he says. “I was his manager and a friend of his when we were at Norwich.

“He’s had a fantastic goalscoring record throughout his career. He’s a big player for Exeter when he’s been fit and well.”

Cureton’s strike partner in a 1-0 home win against Plymouth last Saturday was another familiar name: former Barnsley star Daniel Nardiello, who has scored 12 goals this season.

Exeter have only just missed out on the play-offs and stand eighth in the table - a very strong showing for a club who finished only a point above the relegation zone last year. Megson acknowledged: “Exeter have done well.

“They’ve had a good season. We want to finish on a strong note and continue what we have been doing at Hillsborough.

“The game could be viewed as a dead rubber, as there’s nothing major resting on it. I know Exeter beat us 5-1 at their place but this is not about revenge.

“We simply want to play well and win, and go out on a high.

“I remember playing against Norwich here and we won 1-0. Norwich came in and found out they’d been promoted. It was a right sickener; they were bouncing around our ground as a team who had achieved something.

”We’ve won our last four games at home.

“It would be terrific if, when we start next season, we have won our last five games at Hillsborough and we’re looking to try to keep that going.”

Megson could recall Jermaine Johnson, after once again using him on the bench for an away game, and giving Liam Palmer a role on the right side of midfield, in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Bristol Rovers.

The manager felt that Palmer looked tired, and that is why he was taken off in the second half.

Megson believes that his team have been conceding too many penalties - six since he took over - and felt it was a “lazy” challenge by Lewis Buxton that led to Bristol’s equaliser. He wants consistency in defending and all aspects of the game.