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Craig Short on Cambridge

First Team Coach looks ahead to tonight's Papa John's Trophy game

31 August 2021

Oxford United head for Cambridge tonight as they kick off their Papa John’s Trophy campaign at the Abbey Stadium.

After an encouraging start to the league season United are likely to make changes this evening to allow some of their young players to make their mark. Coach Craig Short believes there are a number of players who will relish the opportunity to show what they can do at the same ground where United kicked off their league campaign this time around.

“The league game has no bearing at all. Even if both clubs were putting out their strongest teams I don’t think it would and I’d imagine that Cambridge will make changes for this one just like we will. We will give players a chance and we have a lot of young players coming through. Leon Chambers-Parillon and Ben Watt were with us in the First Team group last year and Leon made a contribution in this competition with an assist for our goal at Walsall.

“I’ve been impressed by Gatlin O’Donkor as well, the two centre-backs Clinton Nosakhare and James Golding have done very well and Josh Johnson has a lot of talent in midfield. At 16 years old he has a very bright future as well.”

As a former Premier League centre-half Craig has been very impressed by another emerging youngster this season: Luke McNally.

“We all had high hopes for him and I think Elliott goes under the radar as well - 22 and captaining the side and not missing a minute in a play-off campaign last year. That’s unbelievable and now he has Luke pushing him which is going to help them plus Jordan Thorniley who has come in and done brilliantly. Look at their age as well- I don’t think centre halves are at their peak until they are 28 or 29.

“I enjoyed watching our football on Saturday; we have played very well in the past but Saturday was complete other than the clean sheet. Jamo got three goals and was outstanding, Mark Sykes was outstanding and some of the football we played was exceptional. That’s why we attract players. Herbie Kane was sitting there watching that game having been brought up at Liverpool and will have been thinking he wants to be part of this team.

“I think Oxford over the years have always been a good advert for how the game should be played. We will have bumps in the road, games where we have to battle or that turn into a slog, of course those games will come along. But we have had a decent start and you can feel confidence in the building right now. Hopefully we show that at Cambridge as well.”

See the full interview in iFollow as well as a chat with new signing Herbie Kane. See tonight’s game LIVE with a MATCH PASS HERE

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