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Gary Deegan absence creates leadership opening at Cambridge United

Cambridge United captain Gary Deegan. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge United captain Gary Deegan. Picture: Keith Heppell

Skipper misses out through one-game ban

Joe Dunne will be looking to see who takes on the leadership mantle for Cambridge United in the absence of Gary Deegan.

The 30-year-old captain is suspended for one game after amassing five yellow cards already this season, and so misses the trip to Newport County in Sky Bet League Two on Saturday.

It gives other players the chance to step up to the plate though, both in a leadership sense and with regards to into the starting line-up.

“You’re losing your captain so you’ve got to make sure that other people now take responsibility within the team,” said United head coach Joe Dunne.

“Gary leads the team and he leads it well, on and off the pitch. It gives us an opportunity to see whether other people, character wise, can step up and have that voice that we’re going to need on Saturday.

“It also gives us an opportunity to think about one or two things before the game. There are obviously players vying for a position now so creating that competition is good and we have looked at what we can do to manage without Gary, so it’s a chance for somebody else to step up.”

The U’s are boosted by the return of one experienced player, with Jabo Ibehre back in the ranks after missing the draw with Mansfield Town.

“It was touch and go last weekend, I made the call to lose a player for one game rather than six, seven or eight,” said Dunne.

“You’ve got to make tough decisions sometimes, and I just felt last week was too much of a risk based on the week he had.”

It earned a rare start for Barry Corr, who led the line well and was a menace to the Mansfield defence and when Ade Azeez came on, he posed a different type of threat for the Us.

“When all our strikers are fit, we’re working with three who are all completely different,” said Dunne.

“Ade gives us the option of pace and the ability to stretch defences, which he has done.

“He has been unlucky not to get himself another couple of goals; the goalkeeper made a very good save against him last weekend.

“Having Jabo back gives us the options of three strikers, and all who are totally different so we know we can mix things up if we need to.

“The important thing is whichever striker you play it’s just about goals, so when you get your chances try to take – we feel we’re making enough and that it will turn and will score goals eventually.”

Harrison Dunk will not be fit for Saturday, but his recovery from a knee injury is being stepped up.


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