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Colin Calderwood relishes task of blending styles of Cambridge United strikeforce

Cambridge United striker Jabo Ibehre.
Cambridge United striker Jabo Ibehre.

Colin Calderwood is looking forward to the challenge of blending the styles of his new strikeforce at Cambridge United.

Ade Azeez may have left the U’s to join Newport County on transfer deadline day, but with the addition of Alex Jones on loan from Exeter, added to fellow loanee Rushian Hepburn-Murphy and Jabo Ibehre, it would appear there are a number of different options available to the U’s.

Ibehre is more of a traditional centre forward who is capable of holding up play, Hepburn-Murphy seems at ease with the ball at feet and running at defenders, while Jones would appear to be a natural finisher.

So they would appear to have complementing styles, but head coach Calderwood said: “If I’m honest, we don’t know until we see them together.

“You can see the style of player Alex is. He certainly has a decent enough goalscoring record and his variation has been in the box, shots from outside the box, etc.

“He will bring a little bit of experience but we’ve got to somehow find those natural partnerships.

“I think Jevani (Brown) and Rushian have a natural understanding and a link together on occasions. We will find out where Alex fits within that little group.”

But while it is goals that are required, Calderwood is eager to see the U’s carve out more chances.

“We’ve got to get the supply line,” he said.

“Forwards are always defined by the goals they’ve scored, and I think it’s unfair on the forwards. You’ve got to have entries into the box, and we did have that in the early part of the Northampton game, and from nothing we had one entry right at the end of the first half and got a goal.

“The last half-hour is exactly where you would want it in terms of a dominance in the game and an urgency to play and of opportunities to people up front.

“To go from that level to away from home, it is difficult because most teams have a better home record than away. There is a difference but the difference can’t be what it was between Northampton and Exeter.”

Calderwood reflected on their scoring record overall, including the differences between home and away.

“You’ve got absolutely no chance of scoring if you don’t create or hit the target, and we didn’t create enough (in the defeat to Exeter),” he said.

“It’s the events before scoring the goal that we’ve got to improve work on. We’ve got to be capable of doing more and more.

“The scoring side of it can only come off opportunities and chances and we’ve got to play really well and work really hard to manufacture and maintain them home and away.

“I think we’re ideally set up to be even better away from home than we are at home. We’ve got pace and can go quite quickly from one end of the pitch to the other.”

United’s match at Cheltenham Town was postponed last Saturday. They are at home to Port Vale this Saturday (February 9).

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