ROYALS SEEN NEW POWERS
COLORADO Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers has joined Reading on a twoweek trial after impressing in Major League Soccer, writes Danny Rust.
Powers’ parent club announced the 2013 MLS Rookie of the Year’s move on Monday.The 24-year-old American has amassed 13 goals and 21 assists in 92 MLS appearances.
Reading are also looking into the possibility of bringing Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt, 26, to the club on loan.
The Royals face competition in their pursuit of the Scotland international, as Leeds United and Cardiff City are also interested in the ex-Brighton man.
THE sunshine and paradise of Florida might not seem like the obvious place to put in foundations for a winter on the training ground of a League Two club, but for new Cambridge United manager Shaun Derry it’s proved the perfect prep.
Sitting on a small two-seater in a meeting room at United’s Abbey Stadium home, the 37-year-old explains how he made the most of his enforced sabbatical from the dug-out.
Sacked, harshly in the eyes of many, from his first manager’s job at Notts County eight months ago, he was able to use the time to enjoy his family before swotting up on the other side of the pond at MLS side Orlando City.
Watching the likes of Brazil star Kaka up close in training has fuelled the fire to bounce back from leaving his hometown club.
“A lot of time to reflect,” he says, on his time out.“You have to draw a line under it and let it go. As soon as you are able to let it go, you’re able to move forward. For the first couple of months, I wasn’t bitter, there was no bitterness, I just felt they made a mistake. Simple as that.
“I stand by, and back myself, to this day that they made a mistake and now I’ve got another opportunity to be a manager again.
“It gave me options.The chance to be a better dad, be a better husband and spend time with my family who I care about more than anyone ever in the world. It’s my family first, always has been and always will be.
“I had some great holidays, spent some valuable time with them and then at the right time I visited people and went to a different country to look at football.
“I went over to the States and watched a few teams over there. They open their doors.We have a tendency to shut ours whereas the Americans, with all the sport they have over there, incorporate different sports which I feel is really important and something we can hopefully take advantage of here at Cambridge.
“I went to Orlando City and watched some of their training.The facilities they’ve got, the openness of the training environment and how much they are a family as a group of men.
“They spend a lot of time with each other and trust each other, as opposed to a player coming in, training at ten o’clock in the morning and leaving at 12.
“The club make sure there is an environment there that is community based. I think we’ve got something similar here, I really do. There will be conversations, away from the football field, where hopefully I can help the club.”
It wasn’t just football minds he was able to tap into in America.
“I also went into the IMG Academy – a sports academy in Bradenton,” he says. “I looked at the different sports they have there, the golf and the tennis.
“I had a day there at the academy which is phenomenal in terms of facilities and the people coaching there. It’s so different to what we do over here. The Americans really strive for excellence.”
Striving for the best is what he will ask of his inherited players. When he took over at Notts County in November 2013, the thenLeague One club where he started his playing days was going only one way – League Two.
But, falling back on his old school values of hard work and sacrifice, he turned it around and the club survived the drop.
Last season started well too until they hit a rotten run of three wins in 24 and Derry was axed.
He keeps his counsel on what happened, but it’s clear he’s arriving at a club in a much better place than the one he turned up at on day one of work at Meadow Lane.
After nine years in Non-League football, Cambridge finally won promotion, and the FA Trophy, under head coach Richard Money in 2014. Money, often a divider of opinion, then famously guided his team to a replay against Manchester United in last season’s FA Cup.
However, the club hierarchy decided to make a change as they look to keep the momentum going.
Despite sitting 18th in the table at the time of his appointment, United are just six points outside the playoffs. And Derry says he isn’t planning big changes.
“In terms of can this be massively polar opposite to Notts County, I think it is,” he says.“This is a settled group of people working at the football club who are keen, hungry and want to achieve. I’ve been brought in by chief executive Jez George and the chairman, Dave Doggett, we’ve all got common ground and I think that’s so important.
“I’m just one of many leaders at the football club. So I have to make sure we all get on properly because I can’t do it on my own. They can’t do it on their own.We all have to do it together.
“I wasn’t a player who stood out on the right wing, dropped a shoulder and bent one in the top corner. I wasn’t a striker who hit 35 goals. I was a team player. And that’s what I’ll bring to the football club. Being part of a team.”
IN THE MIX: Cambridge are still involved at both ends in an extremely tight League Two MIXING WITH
THE STARS: Derry watched the likes of
Kaka at Orlando City