Cambridge United are out to secure a third successive victory in Sky Bet League One on Tuesday evening as they take on Cheltenham Town at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium...
Occupying a play-off spot thanks to a determined and high quality start, Mark Bonner’s settled men are reaping the rewards in their second season back – whereas the Robins had to undergo a summer of transition, which has recently shown signs of steadying.
How to Watch
The clash in Gloucestershire kicks off at 7:45pm, with just under 200 U’s fans already set to make the trip. Away supporters will be housed in the Hazlewoods Stand, with tickets priced at £26 for Adults, £18 for Concessions and £10 for U18s. Buy advance tickets from cufctickets.com - four away credits shall be issued.
Please note, although tickets will be available on the evening at the Completely-Suzuki Stadium, prices will increase by £2.
From battling with the U’s for the Sky Bet League Two title in 2020/21, to securing a comfortable ranking of 15th in their first season in the third tier since 2008/09, the Gloucestershire outfit had enjoyed a rise of some magnitude under the tutelage of Michael Duff. Unfortunately, it was always a case of when, not if, the gaffer would be poached by another club. His successor, Wade Elliott, had learned from him throughout the previous two seasons and was a smart and understandable appointment. A damaging opening to the campaign handed unneeded early pressure on the side, but a recent improvement in performances shows the team are gelling and now possess their own identity.
Once the Head Coach situation was solved, the next job was to obtain a squad ready to kick on. Losing the assuring figure of Will Boyle was a blow, whereas departures for experienced Andy Williams, Scott Flinders and Conor Thomas all needed replacing. Keeping hold of Alfie May, who plundered 26 goals last season, was undoubtedly the business of the summer, whilst the returning Ryan Broom is an exciting capture. Youngsters Daniel Adshead and James Olayinka are promising permanent deals, whereas loanees Caleb Taylor and Dan N’Lundulu have already impressed.
An opening day 2-3 loss to Peterborough United was a cruel pill to swallow for the hosts, who led 2-0 up until the hour mark. Hurting, they lost their next three matches in all competitions – failing to find the back of the net and crashing out of the Carabao Cup courtesy of a 0-7 demolition by Exeter City. Bouncing back, they shared a goalless draw with Fleetwood Town before getting revenge on the Grecians. A cruel loss at home to Oxford United followed, but the Robins arrive unbeaten in two after edging out MK Dons in the Papa John’s Trophy and forcing a share of the spoils with Port Vale.
Cheltenham Town: DWLWD
Cambridge United: DLWLW
Following the death of Her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Saturday’s proposed matches were postponed as a mark of respect for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Due to that, the U’s will have had a 10-day rest from competitive action.
Therefore, last time out was the professional 2-0 dispatching of Lincoln City on home soil. The U’s pride themselves on their 100% record at the Abbey Stadium, but their full focus now is on grabbing their first success on the road, which would only cement their holding on the play-off positions.
Expressing at the start of the campaign that he wanted his group to be the “best counter-attacking team in the division,” Bonner understands that, away from home, this could very well come into fruition in spells where United need to sit back and soak up pressure. With pace and trickery on the wings, the side are in prime position to exploit this when it comes their way.
As the Head Coach stated on Thursday, bar Brandon Haunstrup (knee) and Mamadou Jobe (ankle), the U’s have a fully fit squad at their disposal.
Cheltenham Town Wins: 6
Cambridge United Wins: 7
Down Memory Lane
If the two blinding encounters in 2021/22 are anything to go by, an enticing spectacle is in store at GL52.
The curtain-raiser in April had it all - two stunning Sam Smith strikes, a red card and a last-gasp equaliser. It culminated a pulsating season with many highlights for the U’s faithful; perhaps the favourite for many would have been the last time the side graced Tuesday’s venue. After Smith got the ball rolling, a rampant second-half saw a forced own goal and a 25-minute perfect hat-trick from Joe Ironside secured the emphatic victory.
Understandably jubilant following the game, Bonner uttered: “It’s huge result for us. I’m delighted with the clean sheet, points, goalscorers, and some of the football that we played. It’s a good night for us, really good. It’s fantastic, what these boys are giving. It’s outstanding actually, I have to give them so much credit for that.”
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referee: Adam Crysell
Assistant Referee: James Wilson
Fourth Official: Lee Swabey