Cambridge United aim to kickstart an unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One at an important time of the season as they gear up to face Fleetwood Town at Highbury Stadium...
Following a vastly-improved performance against former table-toppers Plymouth Argyle a week earlier, Mark Bonner’s men look to make a further step in the right direction against Scott Brown’s stubborn side who have lost one in seven.
How to Watch
Saturday’s match-up in Lancashire kicks off at 3pm. Supporters who wish to join us on the trek can buy their tickets for the match online from cufctickets.com or from Highbury on the day of the game. Four away credits will be allocated for this fixture. Thank you once again for your ardent support throughout the busiest time of year.
Originally formed in 1908, the club were re-established in 1977 and were placed in the tenth tier of the English League system. A remarkable rise ensured. In under a decade, they 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 Brown, the Lancashire outfits’ attempt to build on previous rankings of 15th and 20th has started in positive fashion.
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 previous six. Most recently, they snatched a last-gasp point at Ipswich Town before coming from behind to beat MK Dons last weekend to confirm a ranking of 15th – five points from the play-offs and six from the bottom four. Importantly, Fleetwood have been in every game. Tasting defeat on five occasions, they’ve all been by one goal. Hard to beat, over 50% of their matches have resulted in draws, conceding 21 times, which is less than Plymouth and level with leaders Ipswich.
Ahead of ever-present Jay Lynch between the sticks, Danny Andrew and summer signing from St. Johnstone Shaun Rooney offer good ammunition from the flanks and in support of Toto Nsiala, a rock in the heart of defence. Daniel Batty, Paddy Lane and the experienced Josh Vela offer creativity, whilst Carlos Mendes Gomes, on loan from Luton Town, is the primary source of goals – contributing to seven goal appearances in 15 appearances.
Fleetwood Town: DLWDW
Cambridge United: LLLLD
Eager to build, the U’s pushed title-chasing Plymouth to a goalless draw at the Abbey Stadium in their previous fixture.
Battling all throughout, the hosts were defensively resilient throughout, frustrating the Pilgrims with their no-nonsense approach and undoubtedly carving out the more dangerous opportunities – meaning they were made to settled for a point apiece.
Following the clash, Bonner stated, “We always want to win games of course, but it’s important that we put together some point-scoring days.
“I thought we played well, we played with real intent and energy, ran forward, looked a tough team to play against and applied ourselves brilliantly.”
Importantly, if United can maintain that level of performance on a more consistent basis, they’ll soon climb from their current ranking of 20th and increase their gap of the solitary point from the relegation zone.
Taking points from promotion hunters Plymouth, Bolton Wanderers and Wycombe Wanderers prove the team can up the intensity when they’re the underdogs, but now they hope to overcome the sides around them and convert their chances after firing blanks in eight of their last 11 as opposed to scoring in seven of their first eight.
In regards to team news for the tie at Highbury Stadium, the squad looks to be in the same place as it did last weekend, although that’s not a given due to a virus circulating and the weather restricting training.
Fleetwood Town Wins: 2
Cambridge United Wins: 2
Down Memory Lane
From the Conference Premier to the third tier of English football, it’s usually a tight affair when the sides pit their wits. The eighth meeting is posed to be arguably the most important one yet.
Last season, Paddy Lane was to thank for a share of the spoils in both encounters after cancelling out Adam May’s and Shilow Tracey’s strikes at the Abbey before immediately equalising following Wes Hoolahan’s deadly corner at this weekend’s venue in January.
Reflecting on that 1-1 tie, Bonner admitted: “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 plundering 31 goals.
Referee: Declan Bourne
Assistant Referee: Johnathon Bickerdike
Assistant Referee: Anthony Moore
Fourth Official: Martin Woods