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Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris expecting plenty from his wide players

Neil Harris is well aware that he places high demands on his wide players at Cambridge United.

Ever since the head coach was appointed in early November, he has made no secret of the fact that he expects goals and assists from the wingers.

And Sullay Kaikai has seemingly taken that message on board of late, scoring once and setting up a couple of other goals in United’s last two Sky Bet League One outings.

Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris. Picture: Ben Phillips
Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris. Picture: Ben Phillips

Asked about Kaikai’s contribution and what he wants from his wide attackers in general, Harris replied: “I want that from my wide players but it’s not just a want, it’s a demand. It’s their job to create and score.

“There’s a lot more to a wide player in the modern game. They don’t just stand out on the wing and wait for the ball like I did when I was kid – that doesn’t happen anymore.

“They have to do so much more, and that’s without the ball as well as with it. There’s so much tactically to it and there’s different systems you can play with your wide players.

“The demands are quite high on them and the workload is high. Them and the full-backs tend to run more than any of the players on the pitch.

“You need freshness in them and you need to rotate, but you do need an outcome and an output. The output is getting you up the pitch, winning set-plays, setting up goals or scoring goals.

“Having the bravery to get in positions to do it, taking people on and then shooting or crossing – that’s key. And then when you haven’t got the ball and it’s on the other side of the pitch, you’ve got to get in the box. You need to be the ones putting yourself in the position to go and score a goal.

“That’s what I’m demanding from my wide players. We’ve seen that Jack (Lankester) is doing it, Sullay is doing it and Brophs (James Brophy) is getting there as well. He came on the other day and had a really good impact.”

Meanwhile, Harris has confirmed that another of his wingers – Saikou Janneh – has suffered a knee injury in training.

The 24-year-old is not expected to be sidelined for too long, although the club is awaiting the results of a scan to confirm the length of his absence.

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