Cambridge United aim to continue their applaudable start to the 2022/23 Sky Bet League One season when they pit their wits against early pace-setters Ipswich Town at Portman Road...
On the back of two entertaining clashes last season, Mark Bonner’s men are out to secure their first win on their travels and maintain their ranking in the heady heights of the division. As for the Tractor Boys, they’re determined to preserve pole position and stretch their unbeaten start to the campaign.
How to Watch
Tickets for Saturday’s clash in East Anglia are on the verge of being sold out, with over 1900 U’s fans expected to make the journey from Cambridgeshire for the 3pm kick-off.
For all the latest updates regarding sales for the match, follow the cufcdirect.com Twitter page.
UK based fans who are unable to make the game will be able to listen to live match commentary via iFollow, as well as being able to follow live match updates on the day through United’s social media channels.
Embarking on their fourth season in the third tier of English football, early signs suggest this is the Tractor Boys’ best chances of promotion since falling to relegation in 2019. 11th, 9th and 11th place finishes have proven frustrating for the side, but the foundations were laid immediately after Kieran McKenna was appointed in December 2021. The League One Manager of the Month nominee for August immediately made Town’s defence water-tight, keeping 12 clean sheets from his opening 18 games, as well as going 11 unbeaten between February and March. Occupying pole position and yet to taste defeat in the league, the hosts won’t want to be knocked off their mantle just yet.
Concluding 2021/22 13 points behind the play-offs, surgery was needed in the squad to add extra firepower and versatility in order to be consistent throughout the nine months. Despite not featuring too often for Town, Tyreece Simpson moved to the Championship with Huddersfield Town, whereas cult hero James Norwood departed for Barnsley. Matt Penney, Idris El Mizouni and Joe Pigott were also sent out on loan to allow for temporary incoming Tyreece John-Jules. Joining the Arsenal youngster in the attacking ranks are Gassan Ahadme, Freddie Ladapo and Marcus Harness, whereas Leif Davies and Panutche Camara look set to be remarkable coups. The depth is there for Town – importantly, it looks settled too.
Starting as they meant to go on, McKenna’s men shared the spoils with Bolton Wanderers on the opening day, before overpowering Forest Green Rovers, MK Dons, Burton Albion and then Shrewsbury Town – conceding just the two goals in the process. Barnsley forced a point two weeks ago, before Conor Chaplin and Wes Burns secured victory late on at Accrington Stanley last time out. Colchester United grabbed a memorable 0-1 win in the Carabao Cup, still the only team to beat the Tractor Boys so far, whilst they kickstarted the Papa John’s Trophy campaign with a comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of Northampton Town.
Ipswich Town: WWDWW
Cambridge United: DLWLW
Recuperated after a much-deserved week of rest, the U’s are raring to get back out on the pitch after a morale-boosting couple of days of putting the Abbey Stadium into their own hands and then celebrating that by protecting their 100% record.
After Joe Ironside concluded defence-splitting movements by helping himself to a quickfire brace, United shut down their tussle with Lincoln City in the most convincing and assuring way possible. In truth, the hosts never looked like surrendering the two-goal lead and deservedly steered to the clean sheet which put them up to 5th in the table with a positive goal difference.
Stating his pride after the game, Bonner remarked: “We looked a good threat and played the game exactly how we wanted to. We saw the game out quite well without too much drama on our goal.”
Now, it’s time to perform additional heroics on the road. In front of an atmospheric 25,000+ crowd, a first success on the road against promotion contenders would push the generated momentum to a whole new level.
Ipswich Town Wins: 2
Cambridge United Wins: 3
Down Memory Lane
The U’s ensured their first competitive meetings with the Suffolk outfit since 1992 was worth the wait as they ground out a respectable four points.
In April’s battle at this weekend’s venue, United showcased real grit and determination to secure a 0-1 win after forcing Dominic Thompson into an own goal on the hour mark. All in all, it was the perfect away performance and practically confirmed another season in the third tier.
Shortly after the three points were banked, Bonner stated: “I thought there were some outstanding performances there, and it becomes a really big result and a brilliant day for us, in what’s a local game supported by huge numbers of away fans, and gives us another real highlight in our season.”
Undoubtedly the most iconic match between the clubs, and one stapled in the history of Cambridge United, is the encounter in November 1991 when, in front of 5000 travelling fans, Gary Rowett and Steve Claridge secured a 1-2 win to climb the side to the summit of the Second Division – the pinnacle of their achievements since forming in 1912.
Referee: Robert Lewis
Assistant Referee: Lee Freeman
Assistant Referee: Stephen Brown
Fourth Official: Stuart Butler