Shaun Derry readies Cambridge United for FA Cup expectations
Sutton lie in wait for U's
Shaun Derry is bracing Cambridge United for a battle when they host last season’s FA Cup fairy-tale side Sutton United in the first round on Sunday (November 5, kick off 2pm).
The National League team made it to the last 16 last season, beating AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United – the U’s third-round conquerors – before losing 2-0 to Arsenal.
And they are flying high in their push for League Two this season, sitting fourth in the table having drawn four of their last five games.
“We’re looking forward to Sunday against Sutton,” said U’s head coach Derry. “We’re very aware of them being a Cup team that are in everyone’s memory from last year; what a fantastic run they went on.
“We all followed them very closely and the encounters they had were exciting for Sutton, so to play them at home brings attention which is always nice for round one.
“You want to get through, of course that’s the challenge to reach round two. But when you are up against a team that have had that recent Cup run it becomes even more of a bigger game.”
United are not averse to their own Cup runs, having gone close against Leeds last season, taking the lead only to eventually lose 2-1; and drawing with Manchester United in 2015.
So it is a clash between two sides that have grasped the nettle when it comes to the FA Cup.
“This club knows what a good Cup run can bring,” said Derry. “It brings expectation to Sunday’s game and I think that’s really important.
“Sutton fans would love another Cup run, we’re the same. Our challenge is to get through, and we’ve got a team that wants the same.
“I just think the FA Cup, in particular at this stage, it means so much to the lower level clubs, us included, for various reasons as well.
“It’s not just the financial gains but you can be exposed to television which is great for the players.”
There are a number of changes to the Sutton squad from the one that did so well last season, and Derry has been to watch the National League in action.
“They have changed it about a bit, but Paul (Doswell, Sutton’s manager) and his coaches have kept a continuation of what they want to be,” said Derry.
“From what we’ve witnessed first-hand – I went to watch them against Aldershot last Tuesday – there will be no surprises, we know we’re going to be in for a really difficult game and rightly so because they are a good team.
“They’ve got a lot of good things, but a lot of good things not just on the field but off the field and that’s just through the revenue that the Cup run brought them last year.”