2017/18 League Two Preview: Shaun Derry and Cambridge

Mike Holden by Mike Holden / 14 July 2017, 15:19

Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Shaun Derry and Cambridge ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League Two season.

Background

Cambridge probably believed they were punching slightly above their weight when they appointed Shaun Derry in November 2015 but now the tables have turned and the former Notts County boss could be in big trouble if he starts this season anything like he started last. The U’s were sixth in the betting at the start of 2016/17 but were bottom without a win after eight games. They did recover well to finish 11th but never really looked like genuine play-off contenders at any stage.

Personality

Derry is loyal and hard-working, always giving the impression he carries a huge weight of responsibility on his shoulders and putting the club before himself. This sometimes creates the fallacy that he’s under more pressure than he really is, although it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy when a couple of poor results spiral into a crisis much sooner than might have otherwise been the case. It’s a classic Guardian temperament but he also shows flashes of imagination and excellent analytical ability, not always associated with such types.

Quote

"Whilst reviewing our long-term vision and how we implement our football strategy, Shaun suggested to me that his title changed (from manager) to head coach to more aptly describe his role, which had evolved within the overall structure of our football operation. To be clear, Shaun’s autonomy in the overall management of the first team remains unaltered. He is at the start of what we believe can be a long and successful career. We are committed to helping him develop his future."

- Jez George (chief executive)

Verdict

Whatever went wrong at the beginning of last season, it cannot be allowed to happen again. The U’s must get themselves moving much quicker or Derry will soon be looking over his shoulder, with fans already peeved by what they perceive to be his overly cautious tactics. On paper, their summer recruitment has been good and Derry will expect fewer injuries at the top end of the pitch. With a tailwind, they could make the play-offs. With a headwind, it’s easy to picture a laborious struggle.

Prediction: mid table

Shaun Derry