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20 April 2024 Venue Cledara Abbey Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League One

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Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Derby County

19 April 2024

The stakes are high for Saturday afternoon’s clash at the Cledara Abbey Stadium as Cambridge United vie to take a big step towards League One safety, whilst visitors Derby County aim to clinch promotion back to the second tier…

How to Watch

Saturday afternoon’s penultimate home encounter - which gets underway at 3pm - is expected to be battled out in front of a sold-out CB5, with tickets selling rapidly.

The Buzz Catering Main Stand, Newmarket Road End, Intelligent Membranes North Habbin and Mead Plant & Grab South Stand are all at full capacity, with just a few hundred left for sale in the South Habbin. Tickets can be purchased online at or over the phone by calling 01223 566500 (option 1).

Opposition Focus

After beginning life in 1884, the Rams famously became one of the 12 founding members of the Football League four years later. The 1946 FA Cup winners became the pinnacle of England when they secured the Division One title in 1972 and 1975 in what was undoubtedly the glory years. In the last two decades, Derby have spent the solitary campaign in the Premier League. It was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons nonetheless, as they registered 36 matches without a win – breaking the unwanted U’s record of 31. 14 campaigns in the Championship followed, which concluded in the side bowing out after real adversity in 2022. Whilst they were down, they were certainly not out, as they clawed a ranking of 7th last season. Undoubtedly, the task was to go one better and, 44 games in, they’re edging closer to euphoria.

They’ve done just that thanks to a blend of experience, young talent and the know-how of manager Paul Warne – the specialist is eyeing up a fourth promotion from this level. Deploying a 3-4-1-2, Joe Wildsmith is the mainstay in goal and has attained 18 clean sheets, and that’s no surprise with the calibre of Curtis Nelson, Sonny Bradley and the hugely talented Eiran Cashin ahead of him. Wide options Kane Wilson and Academy graduate Louie Sibley bomb up and down the wings and have Korey Smith and Gambian international Ebou Adams protecting them in the middle of the park, pulling the strings with their dictator approach. An array of talent in the final third means there’s a battle for starts between the unplayable Conor Hourihane, Tom Barkhuizen and Martyn Waghorn, with a settled striking pair of assist king Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and 33-year-old James Collins.

A consistently sound and well-churned engine, County registered three wins and three defeats from their opening six, but would then embark on a five-match unbeaten run to soar up the table. Their season really kicked into gear from Halloween, as they enjoyed a streak of eight victories from nine heading into 2024. A last-gasp defeat against Peterborough United to start the year did was only the smallest of blips, they would go on to lose one of their next nine to rubberstamp credentials. Most recently, back-to-back losses to Barnsley and Charlton Athletic – the only time that’s happened this season – was shadowed by four wins on the bounce, with the side now currently enjoying another run of four without tasting defeat. Situated in 2nd, the advantage from fellow chasers Bolton Wanderers and Peterborough is healthy – four points will secure a quick return to the Championship, but with some favours elsewhere, less may be needed. The feel-good factor around the Rams is on the brink of reaching a new high.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: WWLDL

Derby County: LWDDW

United’s Approach

Cambridge were dealt with a bitter pill to swallow on Tuesday night as Bristol Rovers gained a 1-0 triumph late in the evening at the Memorial Stadium.

The visitors saw their opportunities largely limited throughout, but the other end looked to have done enough to claim a point apiece – helped by stopper Will Mannion who kept out a first-half penalty – but experienced head Chris Martin didn’t shy away from a confident close-range finish three minutes from time to keep the points in Bristol.

Assessing the performance, Garry Monk stated: “What you need is one of them to go in, but unfortunately tonight – a bit like Blackpool in the second half – it wouldn’t quite go in for us. We’ve hit the post, clearances off the line for them and unfortunately the one opportunity they get it goes in and that’s football sometimes.

“We feel a bit aggrieved with the result, but it is what it is. We have to continue, which we will do. You can see the endeavour so I can’t ask for much more from the players.”

The wait for safety goes on for the U’s, with three games to go before the curtains close on the campaign. Despite picking up the solitary point from a possible nine, the Easter schedule has proven to be detrimental. Maintaining a five-point lead from the relegation zone with a game in hand over many, there are many permutations heading into Saturday, but Monk’s men will be firmly focused on not just settling for safety, but returning to winning ways and concluding with momentum.


Cambridge United Wins: 3

Derby County Wins: 11

Draws: 6

Down Memory Lane

The U’s picked up what could still prove to be a precious point in the reverse fixture as they battled valiantly to secure a creditable 0-0 draw against the Rams at a vibrant Pride Park Stadium in September.

Throughout the 90 minutes, United needed to soak up, and see off, waves of pressure, but they did just that thanks to some gritty and resilient defending which handed them a share of the spoils and their fifth clean sheet of the campaign – at the time, nobody else in the division could boast more.

Stretching back to 1980, there have been 20 meetings between the outfits, with Derby gaining maximum points on more than 50% of occasions. That’s helped by a menacing record – the U’s are currently winless in eight, scoring just once in that time, with their last victory falling in September 1989. With so much on offer this weekend, the latest instalment is poised to be remembered for some time by the faithful of whoever proves victorious.


Referee: Paul Howard

Assistant Referee: Kevin Howick

Assistant Referee: Ryan Williams

Fourth Official: Damith Bandara

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Match Reports

Report: Cambridge United 0-1 Derby County

20 April 2024

Mendez-Laing’s first half goal made the difference on the day as United huffed and puffed but couldn’t find a way past a stingy Rams defence.

The result leaves United still in control of their destiny, but also still in need of another result to make sure of safety this season.

Garry Monk named four changes from Tuesday’s game against Bristol Rovers, as Gassan Ahadme, Jordan Cousins, James Gibbons and Ryan Bennett were all drafted into the starting line-up. Lyle Taylor returned from injury to make the bench.

Buoyed by their sold-out away contingent and with automatic promotion on the line, Derby made a strong start to the match and almost went ahead on 10 minutes, as Sibley’s corner almost flew all the way in, but for Mannion’s outstretched hand which pushed the ball onto the crossbar.

United responded well though, and should have took the lead themselves just five minutes later, as Ahadme stepped inside before firing at goal, only to see Wildsmith get in the way to deny the breakthrough.

The ever-dangerous Mendez-Laing was making the United defence work and after getting down the by-line on 34 minutes, his zipped ball across the box had to be expertly turned away by Ibsen Rossi.

He crashed a ball off the crossbar from 20 yards out with five minutes to go in the half, and moments later, he finally made the difference, as he latched onto a through-ball behind the United defence, before taking it past Mannion to slide into an empty net.

The U’s headed into the break behind, but still well in the contest, and began the second half on the front foot. Jordan Cousins let fly from the edge of the box 10 minutes into the restart,

It was all United on the hour mark but despite significant pressure on the Rams defenders, the opposition were able to block everything that came their way.

Garry Monk turned to the bench with 10 minutes to go, as Lyle Taylor and Sullay Kaikai entered the fold, joining Jack Lankester who had been brought on not long earlier.

Six minutes of added time were awarded, and the U’s kept on going, a long ball into the box was headed across goal by Bonne, but nobody was there to finish it off as United were denied a route back and Derby took the points back to the East Midlands.

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