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Fitness tests await for Cambridge United ahead of Mansfield Town trip in Sky Bet League Two

Louis John was a second-half substitute for Cambridge United at Bury. Picture: Keith Heppell
Louis John was a second-half substitute for Cambridge United at Bury. Picture: Keith Heppell

Cambridge United will assess their squad before naming the team to face Mansfield Town in Sky Bet League Two tomorrow (Saturday).

George Taft is a doubt after going off at half time with a hamstring problem in the 3-0 win at Bury on Tuesday night.

“I don’t think it’s as serious as a hamstring strain normally sounds,” said U’s head coach Colin Calderwood. “We will assess today and see how it is tomorrow.

“I don’t think hamstring injuries are ever a week and if you pull it, it becomes four to six weeks and that is something that we would have to guard against, even if he feels okay in himself.”

Gary Deegan and Rushian Hepburn-Murphy missed the trip to the North West and will also require fitness tests.

But with three games in eight days, it has always been Calderwood’s plan to rotate his squad.

“My intention was always to freshen up in midweek and there was a lot of effort that went into Tuesday night, and we can’t come up flat on Saturday,” he said.

“However the score line goes during the game we’ve got to have energy and a real bounce about us.

“Obviously it helped with the result, but sometimes you can’t run on an empty tank and we will get through the game using the subs, I definitely know that.

“I would want a squad performance because I think it will take that to get through the game but also to get anywhere close to getting points.”

One player who will be itching to be involved again is Louis John, who replaced Taft at Bury and settled into the backline with ease in his favoured position of centre-half.

“You come on as a forward and you can get away with quite a bit - you can add to a lead of course,” said Calderwood.

“But coming on as a defender 2-0 up away from home, it becomes almost a lose/lose situation so I’m delighted that we were able to keep the clean sheet.

“He (John) showed that his application in training was worthwhile and is always important because in the moment he is thrown into the game, if they had scored and the result changes, we would all feel horrible but probably especially him, so I think it’s good for him.

“It’s almost his first real throw in his more natural position at centre-half, and he did fine.”

John was given the chance ahead of Harry Darling, who was also on the bench and had more recently got the nod ahead of his team-mate when one of Greg Taylor or Taft had been missing.

Calderwood explained his thinking, saying: “Louis hadn’t had a chance at centre-half and that was the sole reason and just watching him in training a little bit.

“I always wanted to give him the opportunity, and it was the choice.

“I’ve got to be true to my word about giving people the opportunity and if we’d left him out on the occasion then who knows when the next one might come along.”

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