The anticipated local tie under the Portman Road lights await Cambridge United as they take on early promotion contenders Ipswich Town in the rearranged Sky Bet League One match...
Mark Bonner’s men look to re-enact the result of the previous meeting between the sides and oversee an immediate return to winning ways against one of the pace-setters, who are settled and playing eye-catching football under Kieran McKenna.
How to Watch
Tickets for Tuesday evening’s clash in East Anglia are on the verge of being sold out, with over 1900 U’s fans expected to make the journey from Cambridgeshire for the 7:45pm kick-off. To secure your place, purchase online at cufctickets.com.
For all the latest updates regarding sales for the match, follow the cufcdirect.com Twitter page.
If you can't make it to the game, stream the clash live on iFollow. Match Passes cost £10 and are available to buy now. The simplest way to do so is by clicking here and selecting the Ipswich Town fixture.
Embarking on their fourth season in the third tier of English football, early signs suggest this is the Tractor Boys’ best chances of promotion since falling to relegation in 2019. 11th, 9th and 11th place finishes have proven frustrating for the side, but the foundations were laid immediately after Kieran McKenna was appointed in December 2021. The League One Manager of the Month nominee for August immediately made Town’s defence water-tight, keeping 12 clean sheets from his opening 18 games, as well as going 11 unbeaten between February and March. Thanks to just the solitary defeat in their opening 11, Town sit in 2nd and aim to regain pole position tonight.
Starting as they meant to go on, McKenna’s men shared the spoils with Bolton Wanderers on the opening day, before overpowering Forest Green Rovers, MK Dons, Burton Albion and then Shrewsbury Town – conceding just the two goals in the process. Barnsley forced a point in a competitive matchup, before Conor Chaplin played a pivotal part in back-to-back wins vs Accrington Stanley and Bristol Rovers. Their most recent three games, all against promotion chasers, constituted four points as they took a point at Sheffield Wednesday, fell to defeat against Plymouth Argyle but bounced back to secure a dramatic 3-2 success against Portsmouth last time out.
In United’s way at Portman Road is a really settled side who have found their identity under Kieran McKenna. Unbeaten at home this season, the blues like dominate the possession and suffocate their opponents with passes. 22 goals have been plundered so far, with the strikes generously shared around the attack which is blessed with pace and trickery – it comes as no surprise that no goalkeeper has recorded a clean sheet against them. Lee Evans and Sam Morsy continue to break up and dictate play from the middle of the park, whilst Wes Burns and Leif Davis are thriving as wing-backs in the stubborn system. Rejuvenated, Chaplin has popped up with six goals and two assists already, whereas Freddie Ladapo has scored in his past three matches.
Ipswich Town: WDWLW
Cambridge United: LLWWL
United arrive off the back of an unnavigable 0-2 defeat against Derby County at the weekend. In a game with very few chances, the experience of James Collins proved crucial as his brace sinked the U’s.
In truth, although the hosts couldn’t generate the chances to scare the Rams, they were in the encounter for a large period. In similar circumstances, they forced little attacking opportunities in each half, but were undone late both times as their defensive awareness was punished.
Refusing to let the defeat sink the positive start United have obtained, Bonner said: “We can’t get too disheartened when you lose against a team as strong as them. Whilst we have an ambition to be competitive in these games and see how many points we can get, we also have a realism about us.”
Importantly, lessons were undoubtedly learnt. As they prepare to to take on many more quality sides playing at the same level this month, perhaps playing away from home, without any real pressure, could suit them. One positive to take from last season was their ability to frustrate an opponent, slow the game down if need be, and take points from the big teams on enemy soil – the travelling faithful will hope this comes into fruition once more on Tuesday.
Ipswich Town Wins: 2
Cambridge United Wins: 3
Down Memory Lane
The U’s ensured their first competitive meetings with the Suffolk outfit since 1992 was worth the wait as they ground out a respectable four points.
In April’s battle at the upcoming venue, United showcased real grit and determination to secure a 0-1 win after forcing Dominic Thompson into an own goal on the hour mark. All in all, it was the perfect away performance and practically confirmed another season in the third tier.
Shortly after the three points were banked, Bonner stated: “I thought there were some outstanding performances there, and it becomes a really big result and a brilliant day for us, in what’s a local game supported by huge numbers of away fans, and gives us another real highlight in our season.”
Undoubtedly the most iconic match between the clubs, and one stapled in the history of Cambridge United, is the encounter in November 1991 when, in front of 5000 travelling fans, Gary Rowett and Steve Claridge secured a 1-2 win to climb the side to the summit of the Second Division – the pinnacle of their achievements since forming in 1912.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Assistant Referee: Lee Freeman
Assistant Referee: Stephen Brown
Fourth Official: Stuart Butler