Matt Taylor says his players’ mindset will have to be right when they face a Cambridge United side for the fourth time this season.
The Grecians came out on top when the sides met in the FA Cup first round, drawing 1-1 at the Abbey Stadium before winning the replay 1-0 at St James Park. However, they were humbled 4-0 in the League Two fixture in October and Matt is aware that the players have to be right on their game to avoid that happening again.
“They (Cambridge) have got good players and a good manager, so it is always going to be difficult and we know that if we are not right on our game, like we were in that first encounter, they will punish us,” he said. “So we have got to be really strong in our mindset and our approach to the game. We generally have started games well at the Park, the Walsall game being the exception in that, but we did come back into that off the back of the 3-0 deficit.
"We have got to keep our game simple to start with. The weather, is again, brutal today. I don’t think it is a particularly good forecast the next 24 to 48 hours so the pitch will play a part and whatever Cambridge do will play a part, but we have got to back ourselves that if we are at our best we will give ourselves a chance.”
Matt was cautious as well in the assumption that, because the sides have played each other three times already this season, they will both know exactly what to expect from each other.
“We probably played the three games in quick succession, early on in the season, and we have not played each other for a couple of months now,” he said. “I think both teams have changed and it is slightly different dynamic, changed personnel, possibly changed formations, so as much as we have played them three times already this season, it might be slightly different this weekend. But, on the back of a positive Christmas and new year period we go into it with a little bit of confidence behind us.
“However, the opposition, a bit of luck every now and then, a referee’s decision – everything plays its part – and every game is different in terms of its circumstances. One thing is for sure is that the environment should stay the same in terms of our home crowd, our home form and them getting behind the team. Hopefully, our fans, will see a team that is fully committed.”
Matt also issued an injury update on keeper Lewis Ward, who dropped out of the side for the Leasing.com Trophy win over Ipswich Town last Saturday, in the warm up, having been out since early September with a broken arm.
“He (Lewis) has had an X-Ray which is positive, because that was all clear,” said Matt “We are waiting to hear the feedback from the specialist in regards to the injury. We hope that it was a bang on a screw, which holds a plate in the bone.
"It remains to be seen how long Lewis will be out for, but he has come around a little bit this week in terms of a bit of healing time and we are still within the 12-week margin we gave for his recovery.
"He was bitterly disappointed because he was due to start the game against Ipswich and then to come off in the warm-up is almost quite dramatic, but we said that it was a ‘no risk’ moment for him.”
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