Former Portsmouth player set for Fratton Park reunion - although brilliant ex-Norwich man Wes Hoolahan will dictate whether he starts

Adam May was a pivotal figure in Cambridge United’s promotion success following his Fratton Park departure.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 11:57 am
Adam May has featured six times for Cambridge United this season, but isn't expected to start against former club Pompey. Picture: Jacques Feeney/Getty Images

Now the 23-year-old is the victim of a system change for Mark Bonner’s side as he prepares for a Pompey reunion.

According to Cambridge News sports reporter Stephen Page, May has impressed since his September 2020 arrival following a trial.

He has totalled 52 appearances and three goals, while was a regular in the U’s side which finished runners-up in League Two last season.

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However, ahead of Saturday’s Fratton Park return, the midfielder has been handed just a single league start this term, after switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

And Page doesn’t anticipate May being named in the starting XI against the club he represented 30 times after emerging through the Academy.

He told The News: ‘Adam’s in his second season now and has been a bit unfortunate in that his starts this year haven’t quite been there.

‘They now play 4-2-3-1 predominantly, so the plan is to have Wes Hoolahan as a number 10, because he is attack-minded, with two sitting midfielders, which is why Adam perhaps hasn't got into the team this season.

‘Liam O’Neil and Paul Digby are more defensively-minded than him, so play as the defensive midfield two.

‘Last season the formation was a 4-4-2, involving having a sitting midfielder alongside a more attack-minded one or someone who is going to get on the ball, like Adam.

‘For the second half of the campaign it was more of a diamond/Christmas tree formation, with three central midfielders – so overall Adam had a little more luck getting into the team.

‘To be honest, he impressed a fair bit in pre-season and, when he got his chances, I thought did quite well, so perhaps he has been a little unfortunate with the system not quite allowing him to get into the team.

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‘Adam’s good on the ball, he likes to get it down and pass it, but maybe the defensive side is why he’s not getting into the team at the moment.

‘Still, he’s done quite well for Cambridge so far and I look forward to seeing more of him if he gets those chances.’

While May is likely to be on the bench on Saturday, Cambridge will look to the evergreen Hoolahan to provide inspiration.

Now aged 39, the former Norwich favourite has been in sensational form for Bonner’s men since arriving in July 2020.

Page added: ‘Wes turns 40 just after the end of this season.

‘His age really doesn’t matter, his quality shines through, despite being in the latter stages of his career. That quality from higher divisions is evident.

‘He always looks like he has a bit more time on the ball than other players – and shows no signs of slowing down this season.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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