Cambridge United look to register back-to-back Sky Bet League One victories for the first time since September on Tuesday evening as they make the mammoth trek to Fleetwood Town...
Boosted with a platform to build on following their recent return to winning ways, Mark Bonner’s men will look to climb out of the relegation zone and keep the optimism flowing against the Cod Army, who have picked up steam of late by going four unbeaten in all competitions.
How to Watch
The midweek match-up in Lancashire kicks off at 7:45pm on Tuesday 21st February. Should you wish to join the hardy U’s fans making the trip, you can purchase your tickets for the match from cufctickets.com or from Highbury on the evening of the game.
Please note, all previously bought tickets from the original December fixture remain valid.
Fans who are unable to make the game will be able to stream the game live with an iFollow Match Pass. Passes cost £10 and are available to purchase by clicking here. Alternatively, you can follow live match updates on the day through United’s social media channels.
Originally formed in 1908, our opponents were re-established in 1977 and were placed in the tenth tier of the English League system. A remarkable rise ensued as, in under a decade, the Cod Army secured six promotions to take them to the heady heights of League One, where they’ve since established themselves and even reached the play-offs in two separate occasions. Now under the tutelage of former Celtic warrior Scott Brown, the Lancashire outfits’ attempt to build on previous rankings of 15th and 20th look promising. In the process, they’ve created history by reaching the fifth round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time, showcasing their ability to beat anyone on their day.
A rocky start saw newcomers Port Vale seal the points on the opening day, but dogged Town went unbeaten in their next eight matches. Although six of those were close-fought draws, they picked up impressive wins against Plymouth Argyle and Peterborough United. From here, they won one of their next six but flipped the script by losing the solitary time in the following half a dozen. From post-Christmas, the Lancashire outfit lost six from seven games – a 0-2 defeat to Portsmouth in late January was the only time this season where they’ve lost by more than one goal. Most recently, they’ve embarked on a three-match unbeaten run in the league, dispatching Charlton Athletic and Peterborough and picking up a point over the impressive Plymouth. Occupying 16th, Town have a seven-point gap from the bottom four and will look to increase that as they aim to register a fourth home win of the season.
Following an impressive transfer window, where Brown plucked up-and-coming talents, particularly from the Republic of Ireland, and added experience to the attack, the team in red look well-equipped to conclude the season on the front foot and potentially even extend their mazy cup run. 29-year-old Jay Lynch continues to don the sticks, three clean sheets in row means he’s in good form. Defensive rock Aristote Nsiala could be joined by the promising Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu and Harrison Holgate, who have all complemented each other well when deployed in the three at the back system. Corrie Ndaba and Shaun Rooney, who has tallied up eight goal involvements, are threatening on the flanks, with Everton loanee Lewis Warrington gaining valuable experience alongside Josh Vela. Blessed with options up top, signings Jayden Stockley and Adam Marriott know this division like the back of their hand and can supply the tricky Carlos Mendes, whose devastating runs cause a plethora of problems.
Fleetwood Town: LWWWD
Cambridge United: DDLLW
Following a confidence-boosting 1-0 victory against Oxford United just a few days earlier, the U’s make the journey up north reinvigorated and ready to attack the final 15 games.
An early header from Lloyd Jones handed the U’s the impetus to dominate the first half of football, before seeing out the game in a professional manner to hand them a clean sheet and a first success since Boxing Day.
Reflecting on the valuable victory, Bonner said, "We needed it, we absolutely needed the win but I think more than that we needed that performance level because then people believe in us again a little bit… it gives us a little bit of a reminder of what it takes to win and a reminder of what we’re capable of doing, but also the recipe for the next 15 games."
With the eight-match winless run now behind them, the U’s are in a better place psychologically and hope the taste of three points can propel them further up the league. By repeating that feat on Tuesday, they will escape the bottom four for the first time in a month and, with five of the six teams around them still to play, United know if they can maintain that level in the remaining games, they’ll be backed to the very end.
Fleetwood Town Wins: 2
Cambridge United Wins: 2
Down Memory Lane
The last time the sides met, the U’s concluded an unbeaten January thanks to a battling 1-1 draw at Highbury Stadium after Paddy Lane cancelled out Wes Hoolahan’s goal directly from a corner.
Reflecting on the share of the spoils, Bonner said, “I didn’t think there was loads of goalmouth action. I didn’t think there was loads of quality in the game and it was really hard-fought, a really tough game but an excellent point for us to complete a really good month.”
Travelling back in time to 2012, United pulled off a shock 2-0 victory against the Cod Army in CB5 when Jack Eades’ curler and Rory McAuley’s close-range poke forced an end to champions Fleetwood’s 29-match unbeaten run. That season, the visitors secured 103 points, with striker Jamie Vardy scoring a remarkable 31 goals.
Referee: Declan Bourne
Assistant Referee: Johnathon Bickerdike
Assistant Referee: Anthony Moore
Fourth Official: Simon Mather