Jamie Cureton warns Exeter City could miss out
EXETER City have to get back to winning ways on Saturday if they are to avoid slipping out of the play-off picture, according to leading scorer Jamie Cureton.
The striker, who scored in the Grecians' 2-1 defeat to Rochdale on Easter Monday, labelled this weekend's game at home to struggling Dagenham & Redbridge as a massive match.
City went into the Easter weekend looking to build on a five-game unbeaten run and push for an automatic promotion place, but back-to-back losses against The Dale and Plymouth Argyle have seen them falter in their bid to secure a play-off place, with Fleetwood closing the gap between them and City to just three points.
Therefore Cureton says it is imperative they pick up a victory on Saturday.
"It is big game," said the 37-year-old about the visit of the Daggers.
"After losing to Plymouth (on Saturday) we targeted two home wins and we have failed at the first one so Saturday's game against Dagenham is huge.
"We have let teams catch us and that is not what we wanted.
"We know every time we lose we can be caught and then we slip out of the play-offs as well.
"So it is a big game, but the last seven games have all been massive. We have known what is at stake.
"We have just got to get wins, no matter how they come. We have got to put points on the board again and we have to start with the Dagenham game."
A silver-lining in the poor Easter displays was that results did go City's way on Monday, with third-placed Northampton losing and Burton Albion drawing.
It does mean City sit only five points off the top three with five games to go, but Cureton insists the squad are putting a charge for an automatic promotion place on hold.
The former Reading player said: "The chance is still there, but really now we need to say let's get some wins under our belts as quickly as possible, consolidate ourselves in the play-offs and if the top three is still in touch then we go for that.
"I think we have got to forget about making it into the top three for now and just get wins on the board and if they come quick then we will chase the top three after that."
Cureton was substituted late on in the defeat to Rochdale after picking up a hamstring strain.
With a number of injuries to key players already, City cannot afford to lose their main striker, who has netted 21 goals this season.
However, Cureton says the injury is not that serious and he hopes to be involved at the weekend.
"It only went quite tight right at the end of the game so hopefully it is just a bit of muscle fatigue," said Cureton.
"There was no pull, I didn't feel it go or anything it was just a case that I felt it tightening a bit and I thought the best thing to do was come off.
"We will assess it and go from there, but I will be disappointed if I don't make it on Saturday."
Speaking about the performance against Rochdale, Cureton added: "I don't think we played well to be honest and the best team probably won, but when you are in a position like we were – leading 1-0 with so little time to go – you expect to see the game out. And if not you expect to take at least a draw, but unfortunately we conceded two very late goals and that has cost us some points."