Burning Bridges

RYAN Donaldson scored possibly one of the most famous – and certainly one of the most important – goals in Cambridge United’s history...

...but wants nothing more than to tarnish his happy memories of his time with the U’s on his return to the Cambs Glass Stadium this weekend.

Argyle’s midfielder propelled Cambridge back into the EFL in 2013 – and was named man of the match – when his 25-yard free-kick winner helped the U’s beat Gateshead 2–1 in the National League play-off final at Wembley.

“I had some great times there,” said Ryan, 25, who left Cambridge for Home Park last summer after more than 100 appearances over three seasons. “Some of the memories I have got from there are brilliant. 

“But it’s a different club from when I was there and I want to make some memories here. Hopefully, I’ll get the winner on Saturday; that’ll be nice.”

Bearing in mind that his well-celebrated Wembley winner came against the club from which he joined Cambridge, you sense that Ryan means it when he says Saturday’s Sky Bet League Two meeting between his former and current side is “just another game.”

“It’s a really good club, really nice people, and I’m sure I’ll get a nice reception,” he said, “but I just want to win the game.

“I have got a lot of friends there, but we need to win and that’s all I’m bothered about. I would love to go there and win. It’s just another game for me. It would be nice to go back and be part of a team that wins.”

Argyle will be looking to bounce back from Tuesday’s night’s sodden 2-1 defeat at Yeovil and Ryan’s knowledge of his former club’s approach highlights that they will need to be on their mettle if they are to rebound.  

“They are a strong, fast, team,” he said. “They will try to press you everywhere on the pitch. We just need to find a way to win, and we have done that a lot this season.

“We have got so many ways that we can win a game. What happens happens – the other night, we didn’t put the chances away and you get punished for that at this level, but there is so much talent in the team, so many people that can score goals. 

“We want to bounce back from Tuesday as quick as possible and it is a great opportunity to do that. It’s the perfect chance to get back on a good run.”

Like his current team-mate Jimmy Spencer, Ryan was wearing opposition colours when the two teams met in Cambridgeshire at the tail end of last season; current team-mates Luke McCormick, Gary Sawyer, Jake Jervis, Graham Carey and Craig Tanner were in the Argyle party. A 2-2 draw was no help to either side as it ensured the Pilgrims could not be promoted automatically and Cambridge were unable to reach the play-off positions.

“Everyone was just silent at the end,” said Ryan. “It’s was strange. Hopefully we will be celebrating at the end this time.”