Cambridge United’s next Sky Bet League One meeting sees them travel to Stadium MK to lock horns with MK Dons in an important battle near the basement...
With the sides sitting neck and neck in the drop zone with 30 points apiece, the opportunity to potentially decrease the gap from safety to the solitary point is an excellent motive. The U’s, who have recorded the joint-lowest tally away from home, have seen an improvement in their recent performance levels, whilst Milton Keynes contrastingly obtain the worst home form in the division with just two wins from 17 and are winless in six.
How to Watch
Over 1,800 U’s fans have already secured their place for Saturday’s encounter in Buckinghamshire, which kicks off at 3pm. Supporters who wish to join us can buy their tickets for the match online at cufctickets.com or over the phone by calling 01223 566500. One away credit will be allocated for this fixture.
Please note, tickets will be available on the day, but at an increase of £2 from the original pricing. Advance sales expire at 9pm on Thursday 9th March.
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.
Founded in 2004, MK Dons have spent 15 seasons in the third tier of English football and now face a tough task of extending that for a further campaign. In a topsy-turvy era, the side enjoyed Championship action for the first, and only, time in their history in 2015/16, but two years later were demoted to League Two. A steady incline concluded with a spell-binding 2021/22 campaign, where the inspired Harry Darling and Scott Twine almost secured promotion. Unable to build, the ambitions are now quite the contrary for Mark Jackson’s men, who are in a battle and crave the points.
Tipped by many as one of the pre-season favourites, the new-look outfit appeared to need time to gel after losing their first three games without a goal to show for it. Fortunes changed as they picked up seven points from a possible nine to conclude August, but it was only brief as Milton Keynes lost seven of their next eight to put them rock-bottom. A much-needed 0-2 victory at Charlton Athletic was then followed by a winless streak of five, which cost Liam Manning his job. Back-to-back triumphs against Portsmouth and Forest Green Rovers – the only time they’ve achieved the feat this season – gave them a slight bounce, but form has remained inconsistent. Languishing in 22nd, the side are without victory in six and are out for just their third win of the season at Stadium MK this weekend.
Deploying a mixture of a 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2 on occasions, the opponents have a standout goalkeeper in Jamie Cumming – the Chelsea loanee had a remarkable 2021/22 and has shown glimpses of replicating that throughout. His seven clean sheets could prove invaluable. In the heart of the defence, Zak Jules and Jack Tucker have been mainstays, with Tennai Watson getting a consistent run alongside them of late. The experienced Bradley Johnson dictates the midfield – the 35-year-old has popped up with five goals and has the know-how to impact games. In the attacking ranks, former U Sullay Kaikai tends to partner Mo Eisa, the athletic and reliable performer is central to their hopes of picking up points.
MK Dons: LLLDL
Cambridge United: WLLLD
In their previous game, the U’s were frustratingly made to settle for a point in midweek as Morecambe grabbed a 1-1 draw.
Starting in the ascendency, the hosts deservedly took the lead in the early stages thanks to Jack Lankester’s drilled attempt. They were seconds away from completing the perfect first half, but Cole Stockton’s header levelled matters. Despite dominating the gilt-edged chances, United couldn’t make it count as the Shrimps held on.
Analysing the performance, Mark Bonner said, “It was remarkable that we weren’t winning at half-time to be honest… We’ve got to start capitalising when we’re on top of games. In the first half an hour of the game we were brilliant, really creative and had enough chances to add a second.”
Although it was seen as a missed opportunity, the U’s managed to close the gap to four points and will look to decrease that gap at the weekend – emotions will be very contrasting for the sides come 5pm, whoever proves victorious will hope to latch on that momentum.
Hopeful of achieving just that, Mark Bonner stated in his press conference: “A win changes everything, and we want to go into the final ten games right in the race… There are 11 games, a lot of football still to play, and we should be really encouraged by the level that we’ve been finding in the last few weeks.”
In regards to team news for the short trip, the Head Coach said that nobody came out of Tuesday with any problems, whilst Harvey Knibbs has a “good chance” of being involved.
MK Dons Wins: 4
Cambridge United Wins: 1
Down Memory Lane
Cast your mind back to the opening day of the campaign, when one of the pre-season promotion favourites visited a sweltering CB5, only to come home empty-handed after the U’s grinded out an accomplished 1-0 success courtesy of Knibbs’ early composed strike.
Hailing the win, Bonner said: “A win, clean sheet, it ticks every box really. We’re all thrilled with the outcome, we’ve got a good base now.”
In what is just the sixth meeting between the sides, United have lost both of their previous visits to Saturday’s venue, 6-0 in January 2019 and 4-1 in November 2021. They’ll be eager to ensure it’s a case of third time lucky.
Referee: Keith Stroud
Assistant Referee: Sam Lewis
Assistant Referee: Carl Fitch-Jackson
Fourth Official: Robert Lewis