The U’s host Sunderland in front of another sold out Abbey crowd this Saturday looking to build on Tuesday’s draw against Wigan…
Mark Bonner’s men will be looking to build on a respectable draw against promotion chasing Wigan Athletic on Tuesday at the Abbey Stadium. United were left frustrated having surrendered a two-goal lead in the final ten minutes, after Joe Ironside and Adam May struck either side of the half-time whistle, before Callum Lang’s late double salvaged a point for Leam Richardson’s side.
Cambridge United form: LLWLD
The U’s had previously tasted defeat in their two outings prior to Tuesday night’s draw – after facing tricky trips to Stadium MK and the New York Stadium. Despite Sam Smith scoring in both, United were unable to return to the Abbey Stadium with any points after falling to 4-1 and 3-1 defeats respectively.
Sunderland head to the Abbey off the back of a frustrating draw throughout midweek, with the Black Cats throwing away the lead against the 10-men of Shrewsbury Town. Alex Pritchard had given Lee Johnson’s side the lead after quarter of an hour, and despite the hosts being reduced to 10 – after David Davis was dismissed in first half stoppage time – the Tyne and Wear club couldn’t hold on as Daniel Udoh levelled the score midway through the second half.
Sunderland form: LLLWD
Prior to Tuesday’s draw at the Montgomery Waters Meadow Stadium, the Black Cats returned to winning ways, having lost the previous four games in all competitions. Goals from Luke O’Nein and Aiden McGeady within the final eight minutes sealed an important win over Ipswich Town in front of more than 31,000 spectators at the Stadium of Light last weekend.
Key Player: Alex Pritchard
The former Norwich City man, who looked set to have a shining career at the top of English football, looks to have finally settled down in the Northeast, after a £12m move to then Premier League Huddersfield stunted the attacking midfielder’s progress. The Tottenham Hotspur academy graduate, who made two appearances for Spurs, has contributed to three goals (1G, 2A) in six starts for the Black Cats this season, most recently scoring and impressing in Sunderland’s draw with Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.
Down Memory Lane
It’s a case of the less said the better about the last clash between the two sides, as the U’s were unfortunate enough to meet an in-form Sunderland side in the League Cup back in 2002, with the then-Premiership Black Cats cruising to a 7-0 win at the Abbey Stadium.
Saturday’s visitors Sunderland boast a historical advantage over the U’s, having won five of the 12 clashes between both sides, two better than United’s three wins. The last league meeting saw the sides play out an entertaining 3-3 draw in front of over 16,000 spectators at Roker Park in the old First Division in 1993.
U’s Head Coach Mark Bonner prior to Saturday’s clash: “Sunderland started the season brilliantly. They have had a run of games that perhaps has not gone as well as they would have hoped, but you look at the league table and they are still right in touch with the top, which is where they expect to be.
“They will come here expecting to win and needing the three points, because that is the expectation and demand of that club, really. We know on our day we can be a match for any team.”
Shilow Tracey faces a race against time to be fit ahead of the U’s clash with Sunderland on Saturday, with Mark Bonner saying he will be hoping the winger can get through the next couple of training days relatively pain free, before making a desicion on the winger being involved on Saturday.
Lloyd Jones is back in training and running. The centre half has done a bit of ball work but has yet to join the group, so will be assessed prior to this weekend’s game, however the former Liverpool man remains a major doubt ahead of Saturday.
For Saturday’s visitors, Aiden McGeady will miss a sustained spell of action after picking up a knee ligament injury at Shrewsbury Town in midweek. With Johnson saying prior that, “It’s a Grade 2 MCL for Geads – so I’d say about 8-12 weeks out for him.”
Dennis Cirkin has been confirmed by Johnson to be missing several weeks with a hernia issue, with the full-back due to undergo surgery imminently as he begins the road to recovery.
Finally, Luke O’Nien is expected to miss Saturday’s game at the Abbey due to a persistent injury affecting the fullback’s shoulder.
Robert Lewis has been appointed as the game’s referee, with Matthew Wilkes and Lisa Rashid coming in as his assistant referee’s. While Scott Williams will oversee the fixture as Fourth Official.
How To Watch
U’s fans are to be reminded that Saturday’s game is a complete sell-out and to not make the trip to the Abbey Stadium as tickets will not be available.
Tickets are available for the U’s clash Papa John’s Trophy Second Round clash with Walsall on Tuesday the 30th of November, which can be purchased here.