Joe Dunne makes the case for the Cambridge United defence
New additions bolster U's ranks
Joe Dunne has hailed the defensive reinforcements that Cambridge United have added to their squad this closed season.
George Taft was confirmed as returning to the Abbey Stadium last week and will join new boy Louis Jean, a recent arrival from Sutton United, in the ranks for the 2018/19 Sky Bet League Two campaign.
It was an area that Dunne had identified as needing to be bolstered so the head coach is delighted to have got them tied down so early, and with the versatility it provides within the defence.
“I’m very pleased to have a couple of extra defenders now in the building, I think it was a key area that we needed to strengthen,” he said.
“Louis gives us flexibility to be able to move into one or two other positions which is important going forward based on the amount of players we are looking to add to the team.
“Just one position is something that is a premium; we’re looking at players now that can shift into a couple of positions.
“Louis is player that we’ve tracked for a long time.
“We’ve seen him be an England C international who is athletic, good in both boxes also and obviously George gives us the cohesion of the group.
“Bringing in George is very important. It allows us to have three to four strong centre-backs, if you count young Harry Darling as well.
“He [Taft] has played in that back four for a lot of games. He knows the place pretty well – it’s his fourth time back. It just allows us to move into an easier situation where he knows everybody and he’s a good pro and that’s important.
“He’s a good family man and it allows us to have another good character.”
Included in that group of defenders are youngsters Harry Darling and Leon Davies, who Dunne is predicting will have a fuller role within the first-team set-up next season.
“Harry’s time is now to step up from being a bit part, if you like,” said Dunne. “He needs to now push the other guys and we’ll make sure he does that.
“He’s a player that I have a lot of time for and who has a good future ahead of him because his attitude remains very good.
“What he needs around him is people like Greg [Taylor] and George, so that he can be part of the team because it’s about units and teams this year within our group.
“He’s very highly thought of on that part, along with the other guys.
“From a defensive point of view, I think we’ve recruited what we want. We’ve got an athletic back four; a back four that’s also played together a number of games with me and Shaun [Derry], the previous manager.
“We have now two young players also added to that back four with Harry and Leon Davies [who are] coming away from that young development phase into a now more mature development phase that we can now feel the confidence to be able to call on them.
“As a back four, we’ve got cover in lots of positions so I’m pleased to move on to other positions.”