Hot off the back of our Carabao Cup success at Fleetwood Town, we’re on the road again this weekend as we head to Cambridge United in our first Sky Bet League Two away game of the season.
After a narrow defeat to Swindon Town on the opening day, Keith Curle and the Blues will be keen to pick up a first win of the season.
But Shaun Derry’s U’s will be similarly keen to kick-start their league campaign in front of an ex-pectant home crowd, and we’ve taken a look at our latest opposition to get the lowdown ahead of Saturday’s meeting:
Still searching for a first win
Cambridge are yet to win in any competition this season having started the campaign with back-to-back defeats. The U’s lost out at Exeter City on the opening day of the League Two season before suffering a 4-1 defeat against Bristol Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
A similar story to last season could be panning out, when Derry’s side didn’t win a league game until September 24. Cambridge will be keen to ensure that doesn’t happen again this season.
Two of United’s more prolific forwards from the last few seasons may well be lining up in amber and black at the Abbey Stadium this Saturday with both David Amoo and Jabo Ibehre now on Cambridge’s books.
Amoo joined United from Tranmere in 2013 and immediately became a fans’ favourite as his pace and finishing ability captured the imagination of the Brunton Park faithful. The former Liverpool youngster spent two years in Cumbria, during which time he netted 16 goals in all competitions. He moved to Cambridge this summer following a spell at Patrick Thistle.
Another popular player with United fans, Ibehre made the move from the North West to the Abbey Stadium this summer after enjoying a fruitful two-year spell with the Cumbrians. After making the move from Colchester United Ibehre made 53 appearances and scored 31 goals before moving south.
Twenty years and waiting ...
It’s been over twenty years since United managed to claim all three points at the Abbey Stadium, with our last victory at Cambridge coming in February 1997. A brace from Allan Smart and a Lee Peacock goal handed us a 3-1 victory that day, but in our six visits since we have failed to take all three points.
We’ve met Cambridge 26 times in total, all of which have come in the league. The U’s have been victorious on eight occasions, while the Blues have ran out winners in seven of the encounters. 11 of our meetings have been draws.
Goals aren’t usually hard to come by in this fixture either - our two meetings last season produced seven goals and the season before saw eight netted.
Derry made nine changes to his side for the Carabao Cup defeat to Bristol Rovers in mid-week, but has hinted that he will make further changes this weekend after several players failed to seize their chance in the first team.
Speaking after the loss, Derry said: “I think certain people will realise that was an opportunity missed for individuals and it’s something that should disappoint the player.”
The likes of Ibehre, David Forde, Liam O’Neill and Luke Berry were all rested for the clash with the Pirates but may return for Saturday’s game.
Ones to Watch
+ Luke Berry - A product of Cambridge’s youth system, box-to-box midfielder Berry made his first team debut in April 2010 and immediately caught the eye. He top-scored for the U’s in 2011/12 and 2013/14 and this impressive form saw him snapped up by Barnsley. He spent only a year at Oakwell before returning to the U’s where he continued to impress. A combative midfielder with an eye for goal, he’ll be keen to lead his side to victory this weekend.
+ Uche Ikpeazu - The only player who has netted for Cambridge this season, powerful and pacy striker Ikpeazu could well be handed a start by Derry this weekend. Formerly of Watford, Crewe, Doncaster and Port Vale, the imposing striker will be looking to add to his tally this weekend. On his day, he can certainly be a handful for United’s backline.
+ David Forde - A promotion winner from this division with Portsmouth last season, the goalkeeper will bring some valuable experience to the U’s side after joining this summer. A long-serving stopper at Millwall, he made over 300 appearances at the Den before making a loan switch to Pompey last season. Forde kept 19 clean sheets last season and he’ll no doubt prove a reliable last line of defence for Cambridge this season. He has also been capped by the Republic of Ireland.
Sky Bet Match Tip
Both teams to score at 8/13
Both teams scored in Carlisle’s opening Sky Bet League Two match of the season.
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