Jack Iredale auditions for the role of Cambridge United’s Equalizer
Jack Iredale has developed a knack of scoring some vital goals for Cambridge United this season.
The overall haul may not be mammoth, it is currently credited as four, but it equals his best return so far in professional football.
However, what cannot be seen by the figures alone is the crucial timing of the strikes.
Three of his four efforts pulled United level in matches, against Salford City, Southend United and Oldham Athletic, and the fourth, also against the Latics, helped them turn a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.
“It’s always fun to break the shackles off and get yourself into the box,” said Iredale, who had been a left winger until his teens.
“Popping up with a couple of goals has been rewarding.
“The Salford goal got us into half time in a good situation, I think the Southend one levelled us and then the two against Oldham levelled us then got us in front.
“Any goal is an important goal, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have that position to be able to get into the box and get on the end of chances created by the team.
“I guess I’m just in the right place at the right time.”
As for his favourite?
“I would say the one against Southend away or the second goal against Oldham, where it was a big team goal coming out from the back, with Mulls giving it the back-heel,” said Iredale.
“I didn’t really want the ball back to be honest, I was sort of just trying to get out of the way for him to shoot, but he back-heeled it back to me.
“It was a big reaction from the lads as we went 2-0 down in that game early on, and it just showed our mental strength and the quality as well that we’ve got in the team to go and get ourselves out of that situation to go on and win the game.”
Iredale even has cause to lay claim to a fifth, after Bolton keeper Billy Crelin flapped in the U’s left-back’s cross in the 1-1 draw at the Abbey.
“Without a doubt, their not taking that away from me,” he added.
Iredale is currently in a rich vein of form.
He has had to bide his time for a run in the team given the performances of Harrison Dunk this season, but has started the last three matches, all of which the U’s have won.
“To get a couple of games in a row has been really good, and a few goals helping the team feels nice,” said Iredale
“I’ve been involved for the whole season whether it’s starting or coming off the bench, but that’s what happens when you’re in a team that’s winning games.
“There are only 11 spots on the pitch so sometimes you’re not going to be able to start every game, as frustrating as it was sometimes. But I always felt involved and always knew that is I was called on then I would be able to make a difference and do a job.
“Obviously, when Dunks is having a season like he is having, it’s going to make it tough for me to get in the team at the same time.
“I’m just happy that the last few games when I have been needed, I’ve come in and managed to do quite well.”
Head coach Mark Bonner has reiterated throughout the season the importance of the whole squad, and that will be none more so the case for the league leaders than this weekend.
They face sixth-placed Morecambe at home tomorrow (Good Friday) and then travel to third-placed Tranmere Rovers on Easter Monday, but Iredale remains focused on one game at a time.
“I think we’re all enjoying being in a situation like this, and as cliched as it is we’re just looking for the next game ahead and focusing on that,” he said.
“We can’t get caught up looking too far ahead.
“Every game we’ve had recently has been against the top teams in the league, and Morecambe are no different; they are in a good position.”