Midfield options ideal for Cambridge United

PUBLISHED: 07:05 07 October 2016

Midfielder Max Clark. Picture: Cambridge United

Midfielder Max Clark. Picture: Cambridge United

Simon Lankester Photography

Clark catches the eye

Shaun Derry has a headache looming when it comes to Cambridge United’s midfield.

James Dunne marked his return from injury by starting in the 2-1 Checkatrade Trophy win against Middlesbrough.

But in the former Portsmouth man’s absence, and during United’s four-match winning run, Hull City loanee Max Clark has excelled alongside Luke Berry, earning the sponsors’ man-of-the-match prize in the midweek victory.

“It’s a great headache to have, a fantastic headache and that’s what I want,” said United manager Derry, who has also Connor Newton battling for a spot.

“We’ve got the squad and I want them all to be fit, I don’t want anyone in the treatment room and I don’t want anyone to not be in form.

“I want 22 to 24 players that give me headaches every week, because if they do then it’s everyone playing to their maximum.

“Max is a young player, he has come from a parent club that it’s in the Premier League now and he’s on a different life experience in his football career.

“Along the way, he is going to have ups and downs and have a learning curve that hopefully one day gets him back to playing for Hull City’s first team, because that’s what everybody wants.

“But for the short term, he is firmly among my plans and he is a big player for me, just like James Dunne is.”

Clark may only be 20, but he looked beyond his years in bossing the midfield against the Boro youngsters.

And Derry said: “He is learning every game, and this is what young players have to do.

“They have to get themselves away from that under-23 mentality.

“Max has to make sure he is firmly a first-team footballer going forward and not just a young player who is trying to forge a career because, with the greatest respect to the under-23s football, we saw a big difference on Tuesday night, in my opinion.”

United travel to Blackpool tomorrow (Saturday) in Sky Bet League Two aiming to make it five wins in a row.

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