Cambridge United return to Sky Bet League One action at a packed out Abbey Stadium this weekend as they pit their wits against Derby County in a battle between two sides enriched with morale...
In the first meeting between the clubs in almost three decades, all the headlines dominating the media pre-match has constituted to a highly anticipated afternoon in CB5. The U’s look to continue their early play-off hunt and gain a third successive win, whilst the Rams, winless on the road, aim to kickstart the Paul Warne era on a positive note.
How to Watch
Saturday afternoon’s clash kicks off at 3pm with tickets still available for fans to buy – although do be quick, as availability is limited.
To avoid disappointment, purchase in advance and save money as all prices will increase by £2 when buying in-person on the day of the game.
For all the latest updates regarding sales for the match, follow the cufcdirect.com Twitter page.
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.
14 consecutive campaigns in the second tier of English football came to a halt this year as financial turmoil forced Derby to bow out after real adversity. Now, in what is their first season in this division since 1986, our opponents ideally want this to be a short stint as they aim to rise and recapture former glory days. Who else better to employ than Warne? For someone who has gained promotion from this level three times, there’s technically no better in the business. Taking charge for the very first time this afternoon, anticipation is sky-high around the visitors’ camp.
With 14 points from their opening nine, it’s been a steady start to life for the newcomers. Conor Hourihane ensured a winning start to life in League One, before Charlton Athletic nicked maximum points in their first outing. This sparked a four-game unbeaten run, which included both assuring and dramatic victories against fellow relegated sides Barnsley and Peterborough United. Unable to build on this, early pacesetters Plymouth Argyle grabbed a last-gasp 2-3 success at Pride Park, before Lincoln City forced successive defeats. Last time out, they produced pandemonium at the death by wrapping up a comeback win against Wycombe Wanderers two weeks ago. Boasting a 100% record in cup competitions too, the Rams have a trip to Anfield next month to look forward to.
Hunting down their first win on the road in 2022/23, many have faith this will come sooner than later considering the experience and match-winning prowess the Rams have at their disposal. At the back, James Chester and Curtis Davies are no-nonsense and boast Premier League experience, as does David McGoldrick at the other end of the pitch. The mixture of wise heads and young talents, like Eiran Cashin, Max Bird and Louie Sibley, could prove to be a lethal combination.
Cambridge United: WLLWW
Derby County: WWLLW
Cambridge United earned a thoroughly-deserved three points on the road last time out as they secured a 1-2 comeback victory over Morecambe at the Mazuma Stadium. A clinical strike from Jack Lankester and a late winner from Harvey Knibbs broke the away duck and steered the U’s up to 7th in the division.
Echoed at full-time, this felt like a really crucial success for the side. A really demanding October schedule awaits, with Mark Bonner’s side taking on promotion contenders in: Derby, Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Wycombe Wanderers and Peterborough United, but going into it with a respectable amount of points is really important.
What must be highlighted too is that the squad have accumulated 10 points from losing positions so far, the most out of any side in the 92. Remarkably, they never achieved a come-from-behind triumph throughout the whole of last season. This shows not just bouncebackability and excellent options from the bench but, most crucially, progression.
Reflecting on the clash in Lancashire, Bonner said: “I thought we were deserving of it (the win) if I’m honest over the 90 minutes. The amount of chances we created, the amount of set-plays we had, I thought we were the dominant team.”
Throughout the build-up to Saturday, rumours had circulated after heavy interest in the Head Coach’s services. Much to the delight of the United faithful, Mark soon put that to bed and ultimately uttered his determination to continue with the project as there’s still work to be done.
In terms of team news, Brandon Haunstrup remains sidelined for at least the next week. Fellow left-back Harrison Dunk has been managing a slight knock in the week, but he’ll be available for selection, as will captain Greg Taylor.
Cambridge United Wins: 3
Derby County Wins: 9
Down Memory Lane
It’s been some time since the sides have pitted wits. In this instalment, we go back to the iconic Baseball Ground when a stalemate was played out in March 1993. That season concluded with the Rams occupying 8th position, whilst relegation fell to United. In a memorably tight season, the boys in amber were just three points short of 17th.
The last time the U’s recorded a league win against County was on the 15th November 1980 when, in front of 15,000, Roger Gibbins, Derrick Christie and John Lyons wrapped up a comprehensive 0-3 victory.
Referee: Simon Mather
Assistant Referee: Alex James
Assistant Referee: Christopher Husband
Fourth Official: Adrian Tranter