Striking the right balance vital for Cambridge United
Head coach encouraged by pre-season displays
Joe Dunne is eager to build combinations across the Cambridge United squad.
The U’s head coach has been mixing things up during pre-season, and did so again in the double-header with Braintree Town and Championship side Millwall at the weekend.
It has been a case of asking questions of the players, team and squad so that when the business of the Sky Bet League Two season gets underway, every individual can slot in and do a job when called upon.
“This is the reason why we’ve kept mixing the teams up,” said Dunne.
“Sometimes you hear people talk about ‘well, we put him in but he hasn’t really played’ or ‘he hasn’t got this, that or the other because he’s played with this individual’.
“So we just keep mixing it up because at some stage we’re going to have illness and injuries, and if you can’t play with the guy next to you by now, well then you might not play.
“We try to make sure that we get a small squad comfortable in each other’s skin, and understand that when you’re picked you’re picked because I back you.
“The gaffer has got your back so go out and perform, whether it’s a young lad standing next to you or an experienced lad standing next to you, be brave.
“I think the other thing it does is, if we have to change it up, we can still keep the same momentum because we’ve got individuals that can come on and do the same thing, if you like.
“Whatever system we decide to go with, we will be confident that whoever goes out and plays can cause teams a threat.”
United have had six pre-season friendlies so far, and having played Ebbsfleet United last night (Tuesday), they have three remaining – Dagenham & Redbridge tonight (Wednesday) and a double header away against Bishop’s Stortford and Newmarket Town respectively on Saturday.
And Dunne is pleased with how things have gone in the build-up to facing Port Vale away in the season opener on August 4.
“We are where we needed to be,” he said. “Going forward, with two games this week, we look a threat and we will demand that we remain to look a threat and keep working the players exceptionally hard and build now to 90 minutes and we move forward.
“We’ve got some good individuals. We’ve kept that flair going forward that we had at the back end of last season and as long as we stay fit, healthy and work our socks off when we have to because the work ethic and attitude comes first.
“Forget about the flair, without those things we don’t perform to our maximum.
“Going forward hopefully we start to set a marker now in the next few games.”