Pompey v Cambridge United: the opposition view

Amid the heavy congestion for the play-off positions are Cambridge United.

Saturday, 22nd April 2017, 9:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:35 pm
U's midfielder Luke Berry

For that reason, Shaun Derry is clearly performing a good job, especially given the circumstances throughout the season with injuries.

Presently his team sit one point adrift of seventh spot, with realistic contenders stretching down to Wycombe in 13th.

With three matches remaining, there is plenty of competition to reach the League Two play-offs – and the U’s are right among them.

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To think they won one of their opening 11 games at the start of the season – that coming against Newport County in a match which lifted Cambridge off the bottom.

That sparked a decent run until the start of January, but since then the season has been very stop/start, with the side picking up knocks in important areas.

Still, it is now three wins from the last four matches, form at a crucial time as the campaign reaches its finale.

Derry was under pressure at the start of the season and has turned it round but, in fairness, it has never felt negative at the training ground and there hasn’t been a vibe that anything is particularly amiss.

Credit to the United board for sticking by him at the time, a lot of clubs would have pressed the panic button.

The reward has been the U’s in with a great shout of the play-offs and Derry continuing to do well.

Cambridge’s star has been Luke Berry, an attacking midfielder with 20 goals.

He can pop up in the right place at the right time, taking up good positions to net.

Berry also takes free-kicks and you would back him to go pretty close with anything 25-yards out, having scored three or four times from such areas.

Cambridge sometimes play with a 4-4-2, with Berry as a central midfielder, but he is more a number 10, playing off the central striker.

He returned to the club on a four-year deal in July 2015 after an unsuccessful spell at Barnsley, where they often played him as a holding midfielder or right winger.

And it wouldn’t surprise me if Berry collected all the club’s end of season awards.

Pompey fans may be familiar with Adam McGurk, who has been restricted to just 14 appearances through injury since joining from Fratton Park.

He’s been back for three weeks now, though, and set up Brad Halliday to score against Grimsby on Good Friday.

I would like to think Cambridge can reach the play-offs, it’s going to be a tough call with such a log jam of teams in there. But if they can get two wins and a draw in the remaining games then it looks achievable.