The Opposition View: Cambridge United

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 27 October 2016

How disappointed are you with Cambridge's season so far and what are the expectations now?

Disappointed but not distraught as I'm more patient than most. Play-offs looked possible but not now. Summer recruitment looked like it might have addressed gaps left by last season's loans and Barry Corr was panting at the leash - wasn't he? Wrong.

We made some excellent signings but the gaping hole up front and the fullback problem were soon evident. We're back on course now (still with no goals from strikers) but feel so far behind that even flirting with the play-offs looks unlikely - who knows? A run in the FA Cup is needed to keep the optimism that recent results have revived. There may be only six, at best ten, worse than us at present.

What do Cambridge fans think of Shaun Derry?

Some have made their mind up - "He's not up to the job, when will we have the next opportunity to let him go?" Most are pleased that he (more accurately senior players) took the opportunity that the board's backing provided and he now has some breathing space. I just think he's an inexperienced manager and hope that he's learning the lessons. We won't know much more until after January unless Barry Corr makes a miraculous recovery and starts some matches.

How has Adam McGurk performed for you since he left Portsmouth in the summer?

Through injuries and the lack of a proper No 9, he's yet to hit the heights we've seen at Burton and Pompey. Expectations remain high (he's shown glimpses of his quality) but he probably wouldn't be starting against Pompey if Berry was not suspended. James Dunne has had much more impact.

Who are the key players in this current Cambridge squad?

Leon Legge is the rock the team is built on. Will Norris has proved one of our best keepers for years and his saves (not just pens) lift the team. The defence is pretty solid now but all aspects of our game go up when Harrison Dunk is playing on the wing. Uche is our new brightest hope until Barry Corr returns (as if!)

What are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of this current U's team?

Weaknesses are easier to list, even though some have been plastered over in recent games. We're vulnerable down the wings (Gary Roberts should be your main threat) and strikers can't score or even make an impact on the game (pre-Uche).

Our strengths are the team are playing for the manager and each other; they're threatening at free-kicks and corners and the Derry approach of press hard, get to half-time and build from there has been more effective away from home.

Pompey have become a bogey team for Cambridge since their promotion back to the Football League, so would you take a draw from this fixture if offered to you now? 

I'd take a score draw. We need some goals at the Abbey to keep the non-travelling fans on-side.

Predict the outcome of the game.

Always the optimist, based on your away form, I'll go for a 3-1 win but more in hope than expectation. We won't keep a clean sheet.

Portsmouth Match Reports


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