“We know we can compete, but we won’t take our foot off the gas…”
Harrison Dunk refuses to get down-heartened following the gut-wrenching manner of defeat recently suffered. Instead, acknowledging the desire to improve by registering points towards their League One pursuit.
“The first two games were important, just to get the wins on the board and settle the nerves, and obviously a good performance at Oxford – the result was disappointing but at this point of the season it’s just important to get the performances in as it gives you belief, then the results will come.
“We didn’t feel like we were hanging on (at the Kassam Stadium) – the goal has come out of nowhere. If anything, it’s quite a good learning lesson for us just to make sure we stay on it for the whole duration of the game. In that sense, we can take the positives and then obviously work on the negatives.”
The number 11 has done his homework on the Grecians and, whilst he highlights their positive mentality going into the fixture, he remains confident the U’s will handle the matchup in a professional manner.
“Obviously they’ve got the momentum from last season, which is very important. They’ve started well so they’ll be in a great place. It will be a difficult game, we know that. Every game in this league is difficult and if you’re not on it 100%, you’ll be punished.
“There may be a bit of overconfidence, potentially, but we shall see. We know what we can do, so we can only focus on ourselves.
As opposed to the visitors, Harrison is asked if the novelty of being established third tier members has slightly worn off now the U’s have been playing with confidence and real assurance for over a season now.
“I wouldn’t say so as there’s still some great teams to play as we test ourselves at this level again. From last season, we take the positives that we are a good team – but that’s not such an unknown. We know we can compete, but we won’t take our foot off the gas. We have a real confidence in ourselves.
A marauding left-winger to a battling left-back, the longest-serving member of the group has continued to cement, and then thrive, when handed a place in the team ever since pitching up in CB5 during the summer of 2011. If anything, the healthy battle for a place puts the team in good stead.
“It only benefits the both of us (Harrison and Brandon Haunstrup) – we make each other better players. We, probably, throughout the team didn’t have enough competition last season without a big enough squad but you can definitely see that we have that now.
“This season is a fresh slate. Everyone wants to get out there and show what they can do. We’ve got a great squad and it’s going to be a long season with 50+ games so everyone will have their part to play.
“I experienced that last campaign where I didn’t play at the start but then appeared for most of the second half of the season. Football is such an unpredictable game, anything can happen - so make sure you’re ready to play.”
Now into his 12th campaign at Cambridge United, the seasoned professional has witnessed the club in Conference Premier obscurity to aiding their rise as they’ve become a no-nonsense League One outfit always up for battle – he’s torn a fair few players apart in the process.