Cambridge United will look to use the Abbey Stadium to their advantage in Saturday’s Sky Bet League One matchup as they plot to register points from strong starters Sheffield Wednesday...
Mark Bonner’s side are experiencing a sticky patch following three successive defeats, but the confident underdogs’ focus is solely on the challenge ahead of them and not the past. The demanding fixture schedule throws up the Owls next, who make the trip to CB5 with the aim of keeping the pressure on the top two.
How to Watch
Saturday afternoon’s clash kicks off at 3pm, with a healthy crowd anticipated. Tickets are available for fans to buy online at cufctickets.com.
Save money by purchasing your tickets in advance of the fixture, as all prices increase by £2 when buying in-person on the day of the game.
Overseas fans can stream the game live with an iFollow Match Pass. Match Passes cost £10 and are available to purchase by clicking here. Elsewhere, domestic supporters who can’t make it to the Abbey can listen to live match commentary on iFollow.
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The third oldest club in the Football League have a rich history behind them – in their trophy cabinet stands four First Division titles, three FA Cups, a Community Shield and a League Cup. Buoyed by a passionate fanbase, they deem it the perfect time to create more memories. The Owls entered their League One era under Darren Moore, who managed to implement consistent results throughout 2022, with the side falling just short of an immediate promotion as Sunderland edged them out in last season’s play-offs. Well-equipped this time around, the aim is to go one better and climb up the Football League once more, just like the good old days.
The curtain-raiser to a season like no other did not disappoint, as the Owls played out a blinding 3-3 draw with Portsmouth. The following two fixtures were less dramatic, but importantly resolute and clinical as successive 1-0 victories against MK Dons and Charlton Athletic were secured. Peterborough United forced a first defeat, but convincing wins against Bolton Wanderers and Forest Green Rovers followed. Another newcomer in Barnsley sealed maximum points next, before Moore’s men embarked on a four-game unbeaten run. Most recently, pacesetters Plymouth Argyle clinched a last-gasp triumph, but a comprehensive 3-0 defeat of Cheltenham Town ensured an instant return to winning ways as the team in 3rd keep pace with the promotion spots.
The puzzle very well could be complete where this side are concerned. The XI which take to the field against the U’s know the inner mechanisms of the division, how to approach it and, most importantly, how to succeed in it. First and foremost, David Stockdale is a commanding goalkeeper who can single-handedly win games, while Michael Ihiekwe knows how to protect a lead in the heart of a defence which utilises an aggressive approach. Barry Bannan, undoubtedly too good for the division, pulls the strings and creates a plethora of chances with his pinpoint passing which continuously falls on a plate for battering rams Michael Smith and Lee Gregory, powerhouses who don’t just add goals but further creativity too.
Cambridge United: WWLLL
Sheffield Wednesday: LWWLW
A tough outing at Bristol Rovers last time out saw the hosts edge out a tight 2-1 victory against the disheartened U’s, who again were made to rue their missed opportunities. Despite levelling matters through Joe Ironside, Josh Coburn handed the Gas the lead for the second time in the afternoon – one they would not surrender.
It was a frustrating one to take for all concerned. Punished by a below-par start, they eventually found their feet and concluded the first period in a positive manner, but knew they could still up their tempo a gear. Sucker-punched on the cusp of the hour mark, the hosts showcased their clinical side to clinch maximum points.
Speaking to the media after the whistle, the Head Coach echoed his annoyance, stating: “We’re really angry to take nothing from the game… a frustrating afternoon for us at the end of a really tough week.”
From one defeat in five to five losses in six, it’s been a contrasting block of results for the U’s, who still find themselves safely lodged in midtable despite only Forest Green Rovers and Burton Albion conceding more in the league. Ready to embark on three consecutive matches on home soil, the team will look to recapture their early-season assuring performances in CB5.
In regards to team news for Saturday’s tie, Brandon Haunstrup will return to training next week, whereas fellow left-back Harrison Dunk remains touch-and-go. Will Mannion will be out for around a week owing to a knee injury, which too was also picked up by Adam May, who requires a scan but will be out for a period of time.
Cambridge United Wins: 4
Sheffield Wednesday Wins: 10
Down Memory Lane
Last time out doesn’t make particularly enjoyable reading for the United, who were well and truly dismantled by an impressive Wednesday side who on the day looked far too good for the division. An inspired Saido Berahino helped himself to a hat-trick as the hosts ran out 6-0 victors in the March meeting.
In what would be a real learning curve for his men, Bonner quoted after the game that there was “nothing enjoyable about that experience” on a “sobering, horrible afternoon.”
Ona brighter note, one of the most memorable games in the U’s history fell in February 1991, when an electric Abbey hosted a 4-0 dismantling for the Third Division side in an FA Cup Fifth Round tie. A Dion Dublin brace, John Taylor’s outrageous goal and Lee Philpott’s attempt put the nail in the Owls’ coffin, who were on the receiving end of one of Cambridge’s finest days.
Referee: Carl Boyeson
Assistant Referee: James Vallance
Assistant Referee: Joseph Stokes
Fourth Official: Michael George