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Colin Calderwood eyeing longer term plan at Cambridge United

By Adrian Curtis

Cambridge United head coach Colin Calderwood. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge United head coach Colin Calderwood. Picture: Keith Heppell

Colin Calderwood has indicated for the first time that he wants an extension to his contract in order to help turn Cambridge United’s fortunes around inside three years.

Calderwood’s arrival at the Abbey Stadium has helped to steady a ship which was teetering on the brink of sinking into the depths of the National Conference.

United have climbed away from danger at the foot of Sky Bet League Two and now enjoy an eight-point gap between themselves and struggling Macclesfield in the automatic relegation places.

The Scotsman will have one year left on his initial contract after this season concludes but has hinted that he would like to be given the security of a longer deal to concentrate on making the Us a force to be reckoned with once again.

Head coach Calderwood said: “To get the job done here, I think that might take two or three years but I would like to be part of that. I am enjoying it here.

“I would like to use my experience, philosophies and ideas and at the minute I’ve got a nice environment to try one or two things. One of the reasons I wanted to be a manager again was I enjoy the cutting edge. I have felt invigorated.

“I would like to be involved in building a club that people look at and think they are going to be hard to beat and a team that challenges and gets into the top half of the table where you can challenge for the play-offs.

“I want to build a team that produces good players with good morals and values and a good understanding of a game of football. It has not been any harder than I expected. The biggest challenge was to give the boys a bit of faith in their own ability.”

United drew 2-2 at Carlisle United last Saturday – with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Jabo Ibehre on target – and their next three games will go a long way towards deciding their ultimate destination next season. They entertain Colchester at home this Saturday (March 30) before difficult away games against promotion-chasing sides at Bury next Tuesday (April 2) followed by Mansfield.

United are unbeaten in their last four games, and Calderwood’s management style is clearly paying dividends, even though he accepts he has had to change his outlook on a number of things.

He said: “I’ve learned not to have the tunnel vision that I had when I was first a manager. I am a little bit more open minded of different styles of players. Not everybody trains and has an application in the way that I trained.

“I have allowed people to have that individual personality. When I first started I thought everybody had to be the same in the way I trained and that was completely wrong.

“The biggest challenge was building an inner confidence, or inner steel, all the things you would expect of a team towards the top of the table that just come naturally.

“When you have not been in that environment and then you do come into it, you just think it is normal to go and win games away from home, score goals and not be disturbed by the situation.

“But I came into something that they’d involved in for a year, so there was an effect of not winning games. It was important to bring a smile to their faces, because their attitude and application has been really commendable.

“They have worked terrifically hard. I felt they didn’t really have that belief that they could go and win three or four games in a row or go and score four or five goals in two or three games. We are still not there yet but they have got to believe in themselves and believe that at any moment they can play terrible in a game and still win.

“Previously, they felt they had to play excellent to win games and you don’t always have to do that.”

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