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Colin Calderwood wants response from Cambridge United against Stevenage

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

Colin Calderwood is hoping for a reaction from Cambridge United after their New Year’s Day humbling.

It was the worst possible start to 2019 as the U’s suffered a 6-0 defeat at MK Dons in Sky Bet League Two.

The result came on the back of some encouraging performances in Christmas week against Crawley and Lincoln City, and the new head coach is now expecting a response against Stevenage at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday [January 5].

“I look forward to an obvious reaction but we have to have steely determination this weekend, and we’re really going to have to graft, which I have seen in the home games,” said Calderwood.

“We need a result so we will take a hard-working, gritty, lucky [result], whichever way it comes. I’ve got to see a bit more backbone and I may see it at home, but that won’t ease my disappointment at what has happened away from home.”

Gary Deegan will be back in the United squad for the game after completing his suspension and there is also a clean bill of health, with Calderwood hinting that changes could be in store.

“We haven’t had anything from Tuesday apart from picking our chins off the floor, so there might be a few grazes there,” he said.

“As always, everyone will say they want to play but I think one or two will have to come out.

“We have to address the fact that whatever level of performance we may have produced in any of the four games, we’ve got to find a formula that’s better than what we’ve done so far.”

With four games in the space of 11 days, Calderwood has had little chance to work with the squad since his appointment.

“It’s been slightly awkward because you don’t get a week’s preparation in terms of the game, but that’s a small excuse for what happened the other day,” he said.

“In pre-season, you want games to really drill down. We’ve had the games. Our basics were poor in defending crosses, and in the end the back four become culpable for that.

“In your head as a coach or a manager or as a player you are working through what you think is the best policy to make your team organised, structured, competitive, but you see what happens.

“We didn’t see that. I believed that we had told the players a little bit about the threat of what they would do and from within our structure how do we combat it.

“We couldn’t cope with it, and it was crosses in the box that really hurt us in the first period so we have to address that.

“We just made lots and lots of mistakes in that first 10 minutes and got ourselves on the back foot and in a horrible situation.

“We have to point out to the players, and I think they are very aware, they didn’t hit anywhere near their personal levels. I’ve got to get them restarted.”

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