United host Ipswich Town at the Abbey on Saturday 16th October for a 3pm kick-off in what is the U's most highly anticipated League One game so far this season...
A defeat and two draws from their previous three outings mean Mark Bonner’s men head into Saturday’s clash with Ipswich Town enduring their longest spell without a win this season. In the U’s most recent outing - prior to the international break - the U’s earned a deserved point despite Oliver Finney and Scott Robertson giving the hosts a two-goal advantage, as Sam Smith and Adam May struck in the second half to ensure a share of the spoils.
Cambridge United form: WWDLD
However, three games without a win won’t put a dampener on what has been a strong start to the new campaign for the U's, which has seen them earn 13 points from their opening 10 League One games. It's a return that, if maintained, will comfortably see the Amber and Black maintain their status in Sky Bet League One.
Meanwhile, a new sense of optimism has returned to Suffolk following the completed takeover from wealthy American consortium, Gamechanger 20 Ltd, sparking a mass rebuild which saw 19 players arrive at Portman Road throughout the summer transfer window.
Ipswich Town form: DWLWW
Despite Town’s early season woes, which saw Paul Cook’s men sit in the League One relegation zone and winless after six games – Suffolk’s only EFL representatives arrive at the Abbey on Saturday looking to make it five wins from seven, as the bookies’ pre-season League One promotion favourites look to be finally living up to expectations.
Goals from summer signings Conor Chaplin and Macauley Bonne deservedly earned the Tractor Boys all three points over struggling Shrewsbury Town at Portman Road in the Tractor Boys’ most recent League One outing.
Ipswich-born striker Macauley Bonne arrived as somewhat of a coup for Paul Cook’s men in the summer, having made 34 appearances for Queen’s Park Rangers the season prior in the Championship. An impressive goal return of nine from his opening 10 games back in Ipswich Town colours, where he played as a youngster before leaving for rivals Norwich City in 2009, will have Blues fans desperate to see his loan made permanent following the conclusion of the deal.
Down Memory Lane:
Despite only 54 miles separating Cambridge and Ipswich, the two sides have only clashed in the league on two occasions prior to Saturday – and never in England’s third tier. Three League Cup clashes mean in total the two sides have battled it out on five occasions throughout history, with neither side having the edge over the other, both winning on two occasions.
Many United fans will have fond memories from the U’s 2-1 victory over Saturday’s visitors and eventual Second Division champions Ipswich Town in 1991, a season in which John Beck’s U’s finished within touching distance of the Premier League, before being painfully knocked out of the play-offs by Leicester City.
U’s boss Mark Bonner appreciates the challenge that his side will face against Ipswich Town: “Individually, their players have got very good qualities throughout the team, and we have to try and find some areas that we feel we can exploit. We have got to make sure that defensively we are at our best.
“Our responsibility is to be best we can, and we have shown so far that we can be competitive in the league. We are to look forward to the challenge of competing against a superpower of this league this weekend!”
U’s goalkeeper Dimitar Mitov is embracing the U’s underdog status: “I think they are obviously going to be favourites going in to the game but we are confident underdog, like we always are, everybody writes us off but we are really confident going into the game you know like cause like I said we have got the firepower going forward and we can definitely score goals.”
Paul Cook on opposing manager Mark Bonner: "He’s done a great job, Mark [Bonner] - from getting that promotion last year to coming into a new league, that offers some really different challenges. I’m sure he’s learned a lot. They’ve had some really good wins and I’m sure they will be delighted with the start that they have made."
Despite officiating predominently in the Championship this campaign, Leigh Doughty makes the step down to the third tier this weekend to head up the U’s clash with Ipswich Town. Prior to the international break, the Lancashire based referee took charge of Luton Town’s stalemate with Huddersfield Town in the Championship, handing out five yellow cards throughout the game.
Doughty will be joined by assistants Michael George and Matthew Jones on Saturday, with Jacob Miles being appointed as the game’s fourth official.
U’s fans are to be reminded that Saturday’s game is a complete sell-out and to not make the trip to the Abbey Stadium as tickets will not be available.
Limited tickets are available for the U’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday the 19th of October, which can be purchased here.