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Paul Digby believes mental strength has been key in Cambridge United's promotion push

When Paul Digby saw a niggling ankle injury force him to sit in the stands for longer than he had expecte anticipated, he refused to let his smile drop.

And that mental strength he showed was part of a culture he revealed has been installed in the Cambridge United squad that he sees as a key reason why they are outperforming outside expectations this season.

The U's sit second in the Sky Bet League Two table following Saturday's 4-2 come-from-behind victory at Oldham Athletic with 10 games remaining.

Cambridge United's Paul Digby in action. Picture: Simon Lankester (44403794)
Cambridge United's Paul Digby in action. Picture: Simon Lankester (44403794)

It was a match which saw former Barnsley trainee Digby return to the fold in Mark Bonner's side after a frustrating eight-game absence.

"It was nice to be back involved and nice to help the team but three points is the most important thing," said the 26-year-old who signed from Stevenage in the summer and is now in line to face his former club, fellow promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers, in a crucial home game on Saturday.

Looking back on those crazy 90 minutes in the north west on Saturday though, the former Ipswich Town player was not surprised that the side managed to triumph from the situation they found themselves in.

Paul Digby joined the club in the summer from Stevenage Picture: Cambridge United
Paul Digby joined the club in the summer from Stevenage Picture: Cambridge United

He said: "It was mad, wasn't it? It was a bit bit of a hectic start and everything but it is great we have got that character and belief about us and resilience through the whole team.

"Even when we went one or two down there was no panic. I have been in teams in the past that might have panicked and they would have completely dominated the whole game but I think there is such a strong belief within us as a group that we knew it was still early days in the game, 10 minutes in, and we could come out the other side.

"We knew how good all the player are in our team and we could dig ourselves out of a whole quickly which was great as well.

"It was a great response to it but we have done that before, against Burton in the cup I think we were 2-0 down after a few minutes and to go on to win 4-2 it is great to be part of a team that can actually do that and have that belief about them."

Asked where the mental strength within the group comes from he said: "That just comes from the manager, coaches and staff.

"From my first day here it has been all about that bouncing back if we lose we come in Monday morning and come in as if we have won.

"We cannot be getting down or getting the group down or even the things we have had to deal with in the current situation as well, we have just had to deal with it as much as we can with a smile on our face. We just have to try to take positives out of everything.

"To have the core of your team that do have that resilience and belief to bounce back within the game or after the game has been great and I think that is what has helped us the most to get this far."

Despite the positivity that has been adopted though Digby did admit his own injury was a frustrating situation but one that saw him ensuring he played his part in a different way.

"It was a strange one as I when I did it I said to the physio I have had things like that before where it can sometimes settle down in a few days but then it turned out actually it was a bit worse and I think maybe I was being a bit optimistic but it was frustrating.

"But at the same time you have to know you have a different role as then you have to support the team and be a bit more like a fan.

"The last few weeks I just wanted the team to do so well and I was supporting them in any way I could and if I was in the dressing room trying to give good advice if I could.

"It has been a different role but the lads that have been injured deserve credit as they have always been positive around the group and trying to help those 11 players who are going on the pitch the best that they can. It may just good lucks and pats on the backs, just trying to get them going."

He added: "I think we have got such a good team spirit here, even though we have some of the players injured everyone is routing for the team.

"It is just a pleasure coming in every day, if I am honest, and let's keep that going until the end of the season."

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