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Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Leyton Orient

31 December 2023

Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Leyton Orient

31 December 2023

Cambridge United will be hoping it’s a winning start to 2024 as they welcome Leyton Orient to a bumper Abbey Stadium in their next Sky Bet League One fixture…

With an extra few days of rest behind them, the U’s are hunting a fourth successive win on home soil, which in turn would help them leap-frog the O’s in the third tier table.

How to Watch

Tickets for Monday afternoon’s encounter at CB5, which gets underway at 15:00pm, are now extremely scarce – with the Main Stand, Newmarket Road End and North Habbin all officially sold out.

Space is currently available in the South Habbin, but this too is expected to reach its capacity so secure your place online at

For all of the latest information regarding sales – and the possibility of returns – keep your notifications on for the Club’s Ticket Office Twitter account.

Unable to attend? Fans in either the UK or abroad can tune into the action by purchasing an iFollow Match Pass – passes cost £10 and can be snapped up by clicking here.

Opposition Focus

A unique piece of history, Leyton Orient were founded back in 1881 and have had to evolve numerous times throughout many obstacles. From the Clapton & District League in 1883 to the Football League in 1905, the O’s would remain a thoroughly competitive Division Two side for decades before peaking with a sole season in Division One in the early 1960s. Bad ownership forced the club out of the Football League for the first time in 2017, but they roared back at the second attempt and just last season stormed to the League Two table under the tutelage of Richie Wellens, who plots to consolidate.

Deploying his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the boss has put his trust in Middlesbrough loanee Solomon Brynn between the sticks, who looks extremely comfortable in this league. The same can be said about the back four, with Tom James and Jordan Brown either side of excellent central servers Dan Happe and Omar Beckles, who can cause havoc in either box. Vastly experienced 38-year-old Darren Pratley leads by example and combines well with Idris El Mizouni, who plays with a spring in his step. Theo Archibald and youngster Shaq Forde are regulars on the wing, with former Manchester United man Ethan Galbraith situated behind Cypriot Ruel Sotiriou – on six for the campaign – or Dan Agyei.

Needing time to build up steam, Orient opened the season by succumbing to three successive defeats – with a 0-4 thrashing against Portsmouth included in that. A positive stalemate at Blackpool was backed up by a first triumph in the reverse fixture between the sides, before fellow promoted outfit Stevenage comfortably tamed them 0-3. Form flipped from here as they registered four wins and four draws from their next nine – importantly against teams around them – to rise them up the division. A trio of draws in this run did coincide with the start of a seven-game winless run, but most recently they’ve picked up handy wins against Cheltenham Town and Charlton Athletic, before a stern goalless draw at home to Wycombe Wanderers last time out has hopefully given them impetus to kick on, with a mere four points separating them from the top ten.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: WDWWL

Leyton Orient: LWLWD

United’s Approach

The U’s were planned to have done battle with Stevenage to culminate 2023, but power failure meant a postponement and an extra few days rest for the squad.

Reflecting on the disappointing evening, Neil Harris stated: “There’s nothing we can do about it… It’s a shame for everybody but the right call… We have to accept it and move onto Monday.”

It’s as you were for the U’s, with their sole aim of bouncing back from a cruel Boxing Day defeat to Oxford United, where they were unable to build on an excellent first half – capped by Jordan Cousins’ goal – as the promotion-chasers fought back and snatched victory at the death.

A first defeat under the helm of Harris, but the goalscoring knack they’ve developed – 11 from five – and their scintillating home form will breed confidence. A different animal at CB5, they’ve won their previous three on the trot, with a total of six wins from seven an astute feat. A continuation of that would put them on the brink of the top-half of the table.


Cambridge United Wins: 21

Leyton Orient Wins: 15

Draws: 14

Down Memory Lane

Orient inflicted a second league defeat of the campaign for the high-flying U’s back in late August with a spirited 2-0 victory at Brisbane Road.

Piling pressure on from the get go, the hosts capitalised on a strong start through Forde – before finding a second during the torrential conditions in the second half thanks to Archibald’s finish to knock United off the summit of the table.

The recent head-to-head between the sides has been extremely even, with three wins apiece from the last six meetings – although stretching back the U’s have lost just one of the eight matches prior. With at least three goals scored in all of the past 12 games, it’s poised to be an entertaining afternoon where the hosts will hope for a similar result to the last matchup here in CB5, when a Boxing Day 2020 clash saw United take the points with a 2-1 comeback victory thanks to strikes from Wes Hoolahan and Paul Mullin.


Referee: Carl Brook

Assistant Referee: Declan Ford

Assistant Referee: Jonathan Block

Fourth Official: Ryan Head

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