Home comforts the aim for Cambridge United
The U's return to the Cambs Glass Stadium to face Carlisle United
Shaun Derry cannot wait for Cambridge United to get their home under way with the visit of Carlisle United in Sky Bet League Two this Saturday.
The U’s have opened the season with two long away trips – at Exeter City in the league and Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup – and after defeats in both fixtures, they will be out to get their account up and running in front of their own fans at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
And head coach Derry is determined that there will be a change in fortunes in front of their own supporters this season, after a mixed campaign on their home turf last year.
“We’re looking forward to playing at home this weekend,” he said. “We’re looking forward to coming back to the Cambs Glass Stadium and for the fans to get right behind us.
“For that to happen, we need to make sure that we start the game quickly and we need to make sure we carry that intensity throughout a full performance.
“We know that is difficult sometimes over the course of a season, but our home form was an issue last year, and we need to address that this year and try to get many more three-point returns on the board as that’s got to be our intention.”
The U’s are likely to face a stern test against Keith Curle’s Carlisle, who missed out on promotion in the play-offs last year.
They have started this campaign with a 2-1 home defeat to Swindon Town, and were beaten 2-1 after extra time by Fleetwood in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
“Carlisle are organised,” said Derry. “We’ve played Carlisle a number of times while I’ve been the manager here so it’s a case of understanding that I don’t think Keith is going to change too much.
“He’s not made too made too many changes to his team from last year to this, and last year’s team got them very close to the play-off final.
“They had a fantastic start to the season and probably by his own admissions just fell short right at the very end.
“But they are a good team and we had Exeter last week, who got to the play-off final, and we’re now going to be up against a semi-final team, so they don’t get any easier.
“We’ve got our own agenda and we’ve got to make sure we compete against these teams.”
United have had a few matches at the Cambs Glass Stadium this summer – with friendlies against Norwich City, Tottenham Hotspur and Southend United – but the return of the bread and butter of the league is a different proposition.
“Pre-season home games are great, but only for the fact that new players come to see what surroundings they are going to play in for 23 games, and that’s as far as it goes for me,” said Derry.
“You get to see what the pitch is like, you get to see what the dressing rooms are like and everything else that goes with it.
“But this will be completely different. It’s League football - the anticipation and excitement of playing for points.”