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MATCH PREVIEW

PUBLISHED
15:12 8th August 2016
By  Andy Phillips

Cambridge United Preview

Town take on Cambridge United at Blundell Park on Good Friday (3pm) as new manager Russell Slade begins his second spell at the club with the first of two games over the Easter weekend.


New boss Slade was appointed on Wednesday after initially managing the club between 2004 and 2006, and along with new assistant Paul Wilkinson, he will be looking to assess the players at his disposal between now and the end of the season.


The starting point is this fixture against Shaun Derry's Cambridge side, who are in good form and still have a good chance of reaching the play-offs with only five games remaining, so it will certainly be a good test for the new Town boss.


TEAM NEWS


Town have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the fixture. Striker Scott Vernon will remain missing as part of the two-week concussion protocol after suffering his injury against Accrington Stanley, but he looks set to be available on Easter Monday at Cheltenham Town. New boss Slade has said that the same squad that won at Blackpool last weekend will be picked for his first game in charge, although it remains to be seen as to whether there are any changes to the starting eleven.


Cambridge look set to have a couple of players missing for the fixture. Midfielder Pierre Mingoia looks set to miss out with a groin injury that has kept him out of the last three fixtures, whilst the experienced Barry Corr remains out with a similar problem. Young Blackburn loanee defender Scott Wharton and midfielder James Dunne could come into contention after missing several games, whilst striker McDonagh could also return after missing the U's win over Leyton Orient through illness.


FORM GUIDE


Town: WLWLWLDDLW

Cambridge: WLDWLWDLWW


OPPOSITION


Cambridge United have fully established themselves as an EFL club after promotion from the National League in 2014 and are now looking to make the next step under boss Shaun Derry.


Former midfielder Derry took charge in November 2015, replacing promotion winning manager Richard Money and guided the club away from safety and to ninth place. Although many teams have struggled for consistency this time around, his side looked to have continued their form from last season and are only two points off the play-off positions with five games remaining.


The U's still have a few players left from their National League days, and midfielder Luke Berry is perhaps the standout one of those. The 24-year-old has hit 20 goals in all competitions for his hometown club this campaign, and is sure to have some suitors in the summer should United not manage to win promotion from League One.


The reverse fixture between the two sides saw Town come away with an impressive 1-0 victory at the Abbey Stadium back in October, with a goal from James Berrett seeing Paul Hurst's side come away with all three points.


PRE-MATCH COMMENTS


Russell Slade: We’re playing a side that have got something about them and they’re still pushing for a slot to get out of this league so I’ve been impressed with what I’ve seen of Cambridge so far. Shaun Derry has got a good group together, they know what they’re doing, there’s a real identity with what they’re doing, and it won’t come any tougher. It’s a clean slate. It’s an opportunity. Everybody needs to see it as an opportunity to either keep the shirt or an opportunity to gain the shirt, and that’s what we’ll look at over the next four or five weeks.''

 

Shaun Derry: ''Russell Slade is a personal friend of mine and one that I share a lot of history with as he was a youth team coach at Notts County when I was a player there. I wish Russ all the very best at his new job, starting Saturday morning! He’ll be saying the same to me, of course!


Watch the full pre-match press conference below.



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