Joe Dunne relishes competition for places at Cambridge United
PUBLISHED: 17:35 15 March 2018
Iliffe Media Ltd
U’s options delight head coach
George Maris is in contention for a spot in the Cambridge United squad for their home clash with Swindon Town in Sky Bet League Two this Saturday (March 17).
The midfielder was forced off with a head injury after 19 minutes in the 1-1 draw with Wycome Wanderers, which comes just a few weeks after suffering concussion against Grimsby.
“I think George was very frustrated [against Wycombe], you could tell when he came off,” said U’s interim head coach Joe Dunne.
“It’s so soon after the last one, it’s obviously a new procedure in the game, it’s something we had to speak to the medical team about and the club doctor.
“George will train and be part of the return to play protocol and hopefully be alright for Saturday.”
Maris’ injury last weekend opened the door for Paul Lewis though, and he seized his chance with both hands by scoring the late equaliser.
It illustrated the depth that Dunne currently has at his disposal, with only Barry Corr and Piero Mingoia on the absentee list.
“It’s very hard when you come from playing all the time [at Macclesfield] into the squad, and you just have to be ready to take a chance,” said Dunne.
“We’ve always said that, and I’m sure every manager has said that who has managed here; just be ready.
“Competition is important and being on top of your game is important because if I have to make a change and I don’t think you’re ready, you won’t play.
“If I feel you’re ready, I will put my trust in you and respect to go out and do the job. We felt that was the right moment for Paul and something we’d spoken about previously because of what he brings to the team.
“He has got this athleticism and is striding forward. It just felt the game was a powerful game, a physical game and his body was right for that. It’s why we made the change with Paul early on.
“We could easily have done it with one or two others. It’s very important when you have competition for places that you select the right people at the right time in terms of what the game looks like.
“We try to get some extra work into people and Paul has done a lot of that by himself as well, just with the coaching staff.
“The great thing we’ve got here is players take it upon themselves for their own self development which is great.
“Paul and other people who do it every day need to take a lot of credit for that, it’s not always down to us.”
The weather has prevented getting the training into Mingoia and Corr that the U’s have wanted, but Dunne added: “We’re getting into a healthy situation and we’ve got a healthy number of players; it’s great.”