Whilst relatively shy in nature, Harrison Dunk is far from shy when admitting he continues to revel in the fond FA Cup memories of Manchester United for the U’s in the not so distant past.
Ahead of United’s Emirates FA Cup opener with Guiseley A.F.C. on Sunday, where the U’s will be looking to progress into the second round for a sixth consecutive season, Dunk explains the glory tie with the Red Devils still holds pride of place in his best experience in the game.
“Alongside Wembley, the Manchester United game is still probably the best memory I have in football and being at the club.
“Everything about that day, from arriving on the coach, to walking through the city with the buzz around Cambridge. Warming up there was basically already a full house which is unheard of. Then you look up the other end of the pitch and there were just millions and millions of pounds worth of players who were the very best in the world. It was just crazy.
“When we saw the team sheet, and…Van Persie, Di Maria and everyone were on there, it was unreal. And the game itself, we didn’t sit behind the ball for 90 minutes, we kind of held our own and it was just a great game.”
He continued: “Sadly I was injured the week before the replay but to be sat in the stand soaking up the atmosphere in another full house at Old Trafford. It was unbelievable.”
Dunk was substituted on late last Saturday in the U’s win over Grimsby, marking his long-awaited return from injury (knee/hamstring), and he conversely describes that as his worst period in football.
“It’s been probably the most frustrating time in my career, because normally with an injury you know a set time when you are likely to be back. This one has kept on a lot more than we thought and it was an awkward one in terms of position, which needed a lot of scans.
“Credit to everyone from the physios to Joe who were patient and hopefully now it is behind me.
“It was such a relief to get back last week, I’m getting my fitness back up and my season can finally start.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s fixture at Guiseley, the now fighting fit winger describes how he is able to use the memory of the tie against Manchester United as motivation, whilst maintaining a clear focus on the task in hand and progression into the hat for the next round draw.
“You’ll see over the weekend, all kind of results. There shouldn’t be any surprises and we have to be on our A-game and must earn the right.
“It doesn’t matter where or who you are playing, it will be a difficult game so we have to do the basics right which we have been doing in recent weeks. We don’t want to go away from those performances and that’ll get us through to the next round.
“Of course everyone still asks about that Manchester United game, and everyone dreams about it. The games before that are just as important, you can only beat what is in front of you to get through and that starts on Sunday.
“If you want an incentive though then that game against a huge side in a later round like we’ve had before is a good one.”
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