Pride and points are at stake for both Cambridge United and Peterborough United at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they lock horns in the heavily-anticipated Cambridgeshire derby...
For the first time since 2001, CB5 will grace a league clash between the two rivals. Adding to the occasion, the sides at opposite ends of the table have everything to fight for.
Thanks to an unbeaten streak of three games, the U’s have matched their best form of the Sky Bet League One season and, with the gap from safety at just three points, they’ll look to utilise home advantage and take the next step towards their escape - as well as gaining some bragging rights over the play-off hopefuls in the process.
How to Watch
Saturday afternoon’s all-ticket fixture, which kicks off at 12:30pm, is expected to be played in-front of a sell-out crowd. With the Newmarket Road End, Main Stand, North Habbin and the South Stand all sold-out, only tickets in the South Habbin remain available, which are extremely scarce.
Fans who have an existing ticketing account, and would like to attend the derby, can snap up one of the remaining few tickets online at cufctickets.com, over the phone by calling 01223 566500 (option 1) or by visiting the Abbey Stadium Ticket Office.
Supporters should please note that there are NO in-person sales on the day.
For the latest updates on re-sales becoming available, be sure to keep updated through the @cufc_to page on Twitter.
Founded in 1934, Peterborough United were a dominant Midland League outfit before their election to the Football League in 1960. Since then, they’ve flirted with the upper echelons of English football numerous times, particularly in the last 15 years. In that time, Posh have secured four promotions, with a Championship stay proving short-lived last season. This successful era has spearheaded by Darren Ferguson, who in January returned for a fourth spell at the helm and has immediately changed fortunes. They’ll look to rubber stamp their top six credentials this weekend and secure the double over the U’s.
Importantly, Posh had no hangover to nurse in the opening weeks as they secured four wins from their opening five, thumping 12 in the process. On the contrary, they then tasted defeat in four successive matches, critically against now-promotion rivals Derby County and Bolton Wanderers. The streaky side stepped on the gas and lost just once in their following eight, but the reverse victory against the U’s was backed up by a winless run of five heading into the Christmas schedule. Following a 0-3 thumping at home to Wycombe Wanderers, Grant McCann was relieved of his duties, sparking a three-game winning run before they built on a 0-3 success at Morecambe with a 5-2 dismantling of Plymouth Argyle. Posh, who have remained in the top 10 all season, are enjoying a six-match unbeaten run and remarkably kept four successive clean sheets prior to Monday. Building up steam at the right time, the side sit in 5th and have no ambitions of surrendering their two-point cushion.
Switching between a 4-2-3-1 or the tried and trusted old-school 4-4-2 setup, Posh are a cohesive, brave unit who, with a final third threat that has executed 71 league goals, force opponents to sit back and, crucially, know what it takes to succeed at this level. Familiar face Will Norris has become an instant favourite, with centre-back pairing Ronnie Edwards and Frankie Kent the first source of attack thanks to their ball-playing abilities. Jack Taylor and Oliver Norburn complement each other extremely well and conduct the midfield with real authority, while Joe Ward and Ephron Mason-Clark are creative sparks out wide – they’ve combined for 29 goals between them. Exciting forward options Kwame Poku and Ricky Jade-Jones pose problems on a regular basis and learn lots from star striker Jonson Clarke-Harris’ glittering prowess.
Cambridge United: LLWWD
Peterborough United: WWDWW
The U’s go into the encounter with their tails up and undoubtedly relishing the final run-in after sparking late delirium at Bolton Wanderers on Easter Monday to earn themselves a well-deserved 1-1 draw.
Despite coming up against a buoyed promotion-chasing outfit, United showed no fear and were equally courageous to keep the Trotters at bay for a second time. Although Dimitar Mitov made an excellent save, Declan John was on hand to plummet home mid-way through the second half, forcing the visitors to stay firm defensively. After seeing out some close shaves, they capitalised through Sam Smith in the dying embers, who poked home for his 10th of the campaign and a potentially vital point.
Enthralled with how his side adapted and ultimately rose to the occasion, Bonner said: “I thought we contained them brilliantly for the majority of the game… It’s a super result, and really important to take four points from the weekend, and the gap be no wider at the end of today than it was at the start - I think that’s really important going into the last six games.”
As mentioned, United importantly didn’t sink any further from their target thanks to the point. Now up to 22nd, they’ve chosen the perfect time to pick up form with the sides around them looming anxiously. Accrington Stanley, who they still have to play, have won one in eight, whereas Oxford United last won in late January. With a game in hand over MK Dons too, there’s plenty of life left in the U’s yet.
Rallying his troops, Bonner’s message to the press on Thursday morning was: “We need to be really connected to the game emotionally and understand what it means to people, what it means to us and the level we’re going to need to be competitive and to try and win the game.”
In regards to team news, January signing George Thomas looks likely to be available for selection after recovering from his ankle injury. Late checks will be made on a couple of U’s men who picked up knocks on Monday, whilst Liam O’Neil is edging closer to a return to action and George Williams is ruled out for at least two weeks owing to a knee injury.
Cambridge United Wins: 14
Peterborough United Wins: 17
Down Memory Lane
When the fixtures were released in June, the trip to London Road was one of the first dotted in the calendar for the United faithful. In October’s encounter, it was Posh who secured a narrow 1-0 victory.
An unfortunate own goal in the early stages was enough to separate the sides. Despite being presented with some good chances, the U’s couldn’t grab a share of the spoils in front of an atmosphere for the ages.
Reflecting on the defeat, the Head Coach summed the 90 minutes up with an encouraging statement: “I think what probably displays the level of performance is that 2000 people cheer us and sing us off the pitch, because they know that if you give that level and you leave everything out there, you give yourself a great chance in the game.”
Determined to break a rut against the visitors - which is stretched to a winless run of seven league games - the U’s are out to secure their first three points against Peterborough since April 1998 when, in front of a crowd of 5445, a long-range strike from Michael Kyd confirmed a 1-0 success at this weekend’s venue. 25 years on, it’s time for new heroes to be made.
Referee: Ross Joyce
Assistant Referee: Stephen Finch
Assistant Referee: Sian Massey-Ellis
Fourth Official: Aji Ajibola