This weekend see’s Cambridge United take on Grimsby Town in the final game of the Sky Bet League Two season…
After two very different, but ultimately disappointing attempts to seal promotion, United still have control of their fate, knowing that a point or three would be enough to earn a return to Sky Bet League One.
Depending on other results, even that may not be needed, but there is no doubt that Mark Bonner’s men will want to produce a performance and result that leaves no doubt about where the Club will be playing next season.
Despite their relegation to the National League, Grimsby Town may be heading into the game with a renewed sense of optimism following the news of a successful takeover by Jason Stockwood and Andrew Pettit on Wednesday.
For just the second time this season, the U’s head into the game off the back of two straight defeats. Prior to that, United won their previous two games in a row and across the last 10 league games, Cambridge have won six, drawn one and lost three, allowing the team to be in such a strong position during the final weeks of the season.
Grimsby’s form has much improved in recent weeks, having only lost twice from their last 14 league games. During that spell they have draw seven and won five, including last time out against Port Vale. In the end, their revival was too little, too late as their fate was sealed with two games to spare.
Cambridge United and Grimsby Town have a storied history of competitive fixtures against each other, going back to the 1970-71 season when it was the Mariners who completed a league double against the U’s in Division Four.
United picked up their first of 13 victories against Saturday’s opponents the following season, with a 3-1 win at the Abbey but it’s Grimsby who narrowly have the head-to-head advantage, with 14 wins in addition to seven draws.
The U’s are unbeaten against the Mariners in their last six games though (4W, 2D), dating back to 2017.
Speaking ahead of the game, U’s Head Coach Mark Bonner said, “If you offered this at the start of the season everyone would have bit your hand off. Your context, targets and expectations do change as the season goes on but I think what you see across quite a few leagues is that the last bit is harder than it sounds sometimes. It’s what happens and I’m pretty sure that the teams that are beneath us would swap places with us going into the game.
“We are in the driving seat and the buffer that we have built is off of our own performances, results and quality throughout the season. In similar style to the majority of the season, we roll on.
"We have had a good training week and everyone is looking forward to the game and is excited by it. We are understanding everything that is at stake but if you make your lens too wide ,you become distracted by what this is about, which is 22 players on the pitch trying to get a result.”
Tom Nield has been appointed Match Referee, with Andrew Dallison and Michael Webb named as his Assistants. Nield has refereed 31 games this season, handing out 109 yellow cards and three red cards. His last U’s match was the 2-1 win at Carlisle in March, in which three cautions were brandished.
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