Colin Calderwood tells Cambridge United to toughen up on their travels
Colin Calderwood wants Cambridge United to toughen up away from home.
It has been a difficult spell with only one win and one goal in their past eight matches on their travels.
A trip to Grimsby Town awaits on Saturday (March 2), completing a run of three consecutive matches away from the Abbey Stadium. But the previous two have been a 2-0 defeat at Cheltenham Town and a 1-0 reverse at Yeovil Town.
Calderwood has been generally impressed by the squad since taking charge just before Christmas, but there are certain changes that he wants to see from the players.
“I think they have been better than what I thought they would be,” said the U’s head coach.
“I think the general feeling around the training ground and around games has been good and I like the personality and professionalism during the week.
“What we’ve got to do is have that toughness that makes a little bit harder and a lot more dangerous, especially away from home.
“It’s probably hanging [on] for the victory like at Notts County, that would be described as toughness.
“You’ve got to win, and somehow that would be deemed as toughness but you’ve got to score a goal, for goodness sake.
“In these moments, we’re going through a run where we can’t seem to score a goal at one end and we’ve lost minimal goals away from home, I must admit.
“They’re trying like bears, and I think they always have but I put it down to toughness because you’re going to have to work harder, they’re going to have to increase lots of things.
“They’re going to have to increase their running and their workrate, and if they don’t do that then they’ll not get the level, and that becomes the tough bit. You’ve got to run hard.”
What makes it quite baffling is that the U’s have been good at the Abbey.
Since Calderwood took charge, they have won four, drawn one and lost one on their home patch.
So what is the big difference between the results home and away?
“It helps if you’re ahead in a game,” he said. “There is only one game we’ve been behind certainly into the second half - I think Crawley we came back.
“We’ve found a way of losing a goal and coming back which is real character because you need that in your team.
“But don’t be scared of playing away from home. You want to feel them a bit more and for them to look as if they’re focussed on they know what they’re doing a little bit, and you feel at that home because the fans are certainly with them and the atmosphere is different.
“I haven’t really felt that away from home. Notts County we got the goal and we did terrific to hang on but, if you remember, I did say after the game that we were poor in the second half.
“In a game where we could have countered and the team was nervous, we missed so many opportunities to be good on the ball so Saturday was an improvement with the ball.
“This will be a real test against Grimsby, and will be test of all that toughness, determination and being able to keep a clean sheet at a very awkward place to go."