Cambridge United kick-off their 2023/24 EFL Trophy campaign on Tuesday evening with a matchup against local rivals Peterborough United...
The road to Wembley kicks off at the Weston Homes Stadium, as the Cambridgeshire foes aim to chalk points at the first attempt from a Southern Group D that also contains Colchester United and Tottenham Hotspur U21s.
How to Watch
Over 300 U’s fans have already secured their place for the short Tuesday trip, which gets underway at 7pm. For those looking to attend, an adult tickets costs £12, seniors can get in for £10, whilst Under 24s and Under 18s tickets cost £7 and £3 respectively.
Unable to make it? Be sure to grab your iFollow Match Pass so you can back the U’s from the comfort of your own home – passes are priced at £10.
Alternatively, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire will be providing their own commentary live from London Road.
Looking to get the good times flowing once again, 2014 winners Peterborough United are desperate to put last season’s play-off heartbreak behind them and use it as fuel to help kick on towards a return to the second tier of English football. Under the tutelage of savvy operator Darren Ferguson, who has claimed a club-record four promotions, progress is a must.
Keeping hold of star men Kwame Poku, Ephron Mason-Clark, Jonson Clarke-Harris and Ronnie Edwards throughout the summer was an absolutely pivotal piece of business, with a core strong enough to help challenge for a promotion spot. Plucking Ryan De Havilland from Barnet is an excellent addition, as is defenders Peter Kioso and Romoney Crichlow – who have experience throughout the EFL. Nonetheless, changes could be made on Tuesday, with plenty of loan signings, as well as David Ajiboye, Ricky Jade-Jones and Josh Knight, knocking on the door.
A rampant start to 2023/24 saw the Posh become the early pacesetters thanks to slender, yet feisty, 1-0 victories against Reading and Charlton Athletic, before securing a euphoric late 1-3 comeback at Barnsley. Unable to back that up since, three successive victories – which has included conceding seven goals in their last two against Derby County and Portsmouth – plummets Ferguson and co to 13th. A change of competition could do the hosts good, as they look to flip their form and find consistency.
Peterborough United: WLLWL
Cambridge United: WLWLW
Fired up following a blistering start to the league season - which has seen Cambridge occupy 6th following four wins and four clean sheets - sights are now set on a mazy cup run. After dispatching Reading in front of the cameras last time out, they’ll certainly fancy their chances against anyone.
In what was arguably their most complete performance of the campaign so far, United kept things tight at the back and enjoyed the clear-cut chances, before deservedly breaking deadlock late in the night through substitute Fejiri Okenabirhie. Churning out the results in a professional manner, positivity is brewing as the division begins to take notes of the underdogs.
Proud of his squad’s showing, the Head Coach analysed: “Lots to like about us tonight, that was much more like us. In five out of the six games this year we’ve been a good side… We played some good football at times but I also liked the energy that we played with. It’s credit to the players for responding properly and credit to them for the amount of work they’ve put in over the last week.”
Obtaining a similar approach of utilising the Papa John’s Trophy as a momentum booster and minute gainer for those who have found opportunities limited, changes are likely to be ringed for the U’s with many itching to take their chance and work their way into the competitive first team fold.
Peterborough United Wins: 17
Cambridge United Wins: 15
Down Memory Lane
A delirious Abbey Stadium just five months ago is still fresh in the minds of the United faithful, who will think back vividly to that April afternoon when the hosts rubber stamped their survival pursuit by dispatching their arch-rivals 2-0.
A sold-out CB5 witnessed the U’s come out of the blocks with sheer confidence, restricting Posh to very little before fittingly drawing first blood through Harrison Dunk. Shortly after the break, Sam Smith sent the Newmarket Road End into bedlam to help secure the three points and the bragging rights.
Speaking after the encounter, Bonner stated: “If we're going to stay in this league, and we want big occasions against big clubs, and all that it brings, we're going to have to keep fighting like that… It was a brilliant afternoon and a super atmosphere.”
The victory broke a seven-game winless duck against the travellers – United hadn’t claimed three points since back in April 1998. The sides do have history in this competition however, being paired in the same group in the 2017/18, 2019/20 and 2020/21 season, with the latter resulting in a penalty shootout success for the U’s following a 1-1 draw which was forced by Ben Worman. The line-up on that November evening was: Burton, Davies, Cundy, Darling, Dunk, Knowles, May, Boateng, El Mizouni, Dallas, Knibbs.
Referee: Kirsty Dowle
Assistant Referee: Hristo Karaivanov
Assistant Referee: Paul Stonier
Fourth Official: Kevin Howick