‘Top-class’ – Cambridge view of Port Vale game and return of Leon Legge



The best defence in the division will take on the best attack when Port Vale tackle Cambridge at the Abbey Stadium on Tuesday (7pm).

So, the Vale can expect their record of just two goals conceded to be severely tested by the leaders who have netted 15 in their six games.

United’s fantastic form continued with a 5-0 win at Scunthorpe on Saturday to hit the top under manager Mark Bonner.

Bonner became the second youngest manager in the league, behind only MK Dons’ Russell Martin,  when he was appointed, aged 34, in March. But he knows the club inside out having worked in the club’s football in the community scheme then been academy manager, first team coach and assistant boss before getting the top job. 

He is guiding a side who are actually the top scorers in the country, playing a 4-4-2 with former Tranmere goalscorer Paul Mullin, who has seven league goals, and ex Macclesfield Town man Joe Ironside, who has three, up front.

So, what sort of test can eighth-placed Vale expect?

We’re grateful to reporter Doug Shulman, who covers United for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, for his views.

He says Bonner is doing a remarkable job: “He took over as boss on an interim basis in February and has transformed the first team. He has got players absolutely playing to their highest level.

“Everyone knows their job and he has got people in the building that are the right characters, not only for the team, but the squad. It is paying dividends on the pitch, they are tight at the back and have a couple of players that have added a lot of potency and pace and power at the top end of the pitch. They are scoring goals for fun at the moment.”

Ironside and Mullin have been the regular starters, as Shulman explained: “They are two strikers absolutely bang in form. It’s an old adage but if you feed them decent service they will put the ball in the back of the net.

“Paul Mullin is the top scorer in the country and United are the top scorers in all four divisions. A lot of that comes down to the service in from the wide areas.”

That includes from Luke Hannant who joined Cambridge on a free from the Vale 15 months ago.

Shulman added: “He’s played on the left or the right, it very much depends on whether Wes Hoolahan plays.  But wherever Luke plays at the moment, he is really doing a job. He has four assists and three goals already this season, and had one chalked off at Scunthorpe which went down as an own goal at the end.

“But his contribution has been amazing. He picked up an ankle injury back in January and didn’t play for the last six to eight weeks of the season. But the operation has clearly done him the world of good and he is a key part in United’s midfield at the moment.”

Former Cambridge winger David Amoo is due to return to training this week so may have an outside chance of being in the Vale squad.

But former Cambridge defender Leon Legge will definitely play having been instrumental in Vale keeping four clean sheets from six.

The 35 year old, who was signed on a free from Cambridge by Neil Aspin in the summer of 2018, remains highly regarded at the Abbey Stadium.

Shulman added: “Leon is a top man on and off the pitch. He made over 100 appearances for the club and was absolutely solid as a rock.

“Unfortunately he fell out of favour towards the end of the season before last and no one really knows why. He picked up an injury and found it very difficult to get back into the side. But you won’t hear a single person, either on or off the pitch, say a bad thing about Leon Legge.

“There are not too many players over the years that leave the club and you are extremely disappointed. That was the case for Leon.  I think if anybody could have him back at the club now they would snap your hand off. He’s a top class defender and a top class individual as well.”





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