Shaun Derry bids to get Cambridge United firing on all cylinders
U's head coach wants goals burden to be shared
Shaun Derry is asking for all players to start contributing goals as Cambridge United bid to get on a scoring run in Sky Bet League Two.
The blip to Luton Town aside – with the 7-0 defeat – no-one can dispute the U’s strength as a team is that they are hard to break down, with 10 clean sheets in all competitions.
But there is no hiding from the fact that they are struggling to put the ball in the net, with the U’s without a goal in their last four League games, and have only scored one in their last six matches in all competitions.
“The facts of the matter are we’ve got 10 clean sheets behind us at this moment in time and that gives us a brilliant platform to play off,” said U’s head coach Derry.
“We know that we need to score more goals, it’s absolutely clear and it’s been clear now not just for this season but at times last season we struggled to find that goal that demonstrated at certain times our domination in games.
“I’m not saying that we’re a team that’s having 65 per cent possession every week because we’re not that team.
“But at times this year we’ve felt that we’ve required the goals at certain times and they haven’t come, and that causes slight difficulties for us.
“You have to find a way of affecting the opposition and we’ve done that for 99 per cent of the season.
“What I’m asking the boys now is for them to all, not just the attacking players but every player that pulls on the shirt for Cambridge, to take responsibility for scoring goals.
“I thought we had opportunities on Tuesday night, albeit they dropped to defenders, but I am expecting us to score in those situations and that’s something we’ve got to address.”
Derry has spoken of his desire to get another couple of strikers in during the January transfer window as Uche Ikpeazu and Jabo Ibehre have carried the burden of the workload so far, with Ade Azeez out with a long-term injury.
But Derry knows that bringing in the right candidate is going to be tricky this winter.
“The January market is a difficult market,” he said. “It’s a strange one because those that are doing really well at League Two level, and even the Conference level, the teams aren’t going to want to see their players leave.
“Then obviously you’re looking at the lads that are perhaps not getting match minutes at League One level; if they are strong squad members, their managers don’t want them to leave either.
“So it’s a difficult market but it’s one that we have to be in. I’m saying to the guys who are recruiting at the football club that we’ve got to be in the market for these guys.
“These are times now where it’s clear for me what I want, absolutely clear. I’ve made my wishes known and it’s for us now to work together to make sure we do get a player through the door in January.”
But with many games still to come before the transfer window opens, Derry is still looking for players from all over the pitch to chip in with goals.
“Leon Legge hit eight goals last year, I want to see centre-halves scoring goals,” said Derry. “I want to see wide players getting on the score sheet.
“I always say that midfielders should contribute and we’ve just not done that this year up to this point.
“I’m putting a little bit of pressure on the lads, in the right way, because when I put the pressure on in the right way I’m asking them to improve and show their improvement.
“And I think we’re ready to do that.”