FA Cup riches on the line for Cambridge United and Sutton
Great rewards on offer from competition
Cambridge United’s squad are well aware of the rewards on offer from an FA Cup run, according to head coach Shaun Derry.
The U’s face National League side Sutton United in the first round at the Cambs Glass Stadium on Sunday (November 5, kick off 2pm), and they go into the match on the back of a four-game unbeaten run.
And while the Cup competition offers a welcome break from the league, it also poses a different type of obstacle.
“I made that point clear after the Grimsby game,” said Derry. “We were three unbeaten going into the match and I said let’s make it four and then obviously a new challenge is around the corner for us in the Cup.
“Psychologically, the players are very aware of what Sunday is all about.
“First and foremost, it’s on a Sunday which is not normally when you play your League games, 2pm kick off, different type of level of opponent and the exposure of an FA Cup competition.
“It’s definitely a different vibe going into Sunday.”
And Derry is all too aware of the value of a good Cup run to the club as a whole.
The home draw and subsequent replay with Manchester United in 2015 helped finance some vital improvements for the club at both the ground and the training facilities, while the clash with Leeds last season was another welcome boost.
“It’s a competition where the rewards could be fantastic,” said Derry. “We saw the rewards of Lincoln [who faced Arsenal in the quarter-finals] last year, and how that’s set them up for the next two or three years.
“You speak to anyone over at Lincoln and I’m sure Danny [Cowley, the manager] and his team will tell you what that competition has allowed them to do.
“You walk into Sincil Bank and you see 16 spin bikes in a room that’s only been created through the Cup competition.
“You look at a 6,500 attendance coming to watch them religiously every week, and that is due to the exposure of being successful in the Cup and getting promoted.
“Even Sutton have been able to re-strip the changing rooms and have a brand new state-of-the-art changing facility, all down to these games and that’s what’s brilliant about being a lower level club playing in rounds one, two and three.”