Match Preview: U's Charlton Athletic

Cambridge United look to make an instant return to winning ways in Sky Bet League One this weekend as they take on an in-form Charlton Athletic side at a bumper Cledara Abbey Stadium...

How to Watch

Saturday afternoon’s encounter - which gets underway at 3pm - is edging closer to a potential sell-out crowd, with tickets selling rapidly.

The Buzz Catering Main Stand, Newmarket Road End and North Habbin, on top of the away stand, are already at full capacity. Tickets for the South Habbin can be purchased online at or over the phone by calling 01223 566500 (option 1).

Opposition Focus

Following their formation in 1905, a turbulent two years between 1919 and 1921 saw the Addicks move into their current home, turn professional and gain election into the Football League, where they’ve since stayed for over a century. A meteoric rise culminated in their highest ever finish in 1937, where they soared to second in the First Division before maintaining the remarkable era - which included an FA Cup win in 1947. The steady outfit turned into a fluctuating one throughout the 1970s and early 80s and were on the brink of extinction at one point, but the glory days returned at the start of the millennium when Alan Curbishley inspired them to seven successive Premier League campaigns. Yet to return since 2007, Charlton have spent nine of the previous 16 years as a third tier outfit and although they’ll be unable to improve on recent rankings of 13th and 10th, plans are in place and optimism is in the air that the seeds have been sown and they are ready to grow under former top flight boss Nathan Jones.

The Welsh gaffer arrives with know-how and has immediately got the best out of his group. Organised in a 3-4-1-2 setup, Harry Isted dons the sticks and has a dependable three of Terell Thomas, Michael Hector and Macauley Gillesphey ahead of him, who all possess experience and traits to help play from the back. Tennai Watson and Tyreece Campbell provide the width, with an invaluable midfield duo of Conor Coventry and the consistent George Dobson. Youngsters Karoy Anderson and Daniel Kanu are enjoying breakout seasons and will learn from fellow forwards Connor Wickham and Kazenga LuaLua, who were both brought in to guide and be key in the final third decisions. Lastly, Alfie May has been a revelation – the league’s top scorer is on 23 and he certainly won’t end on that figure.

Despite being dubbed as promotion dark horses heading into the 2023/24 season, the Addicks limped early on as they responded to an opening day victory over Leyton Orient by losing four on the bounce. Bouncing back in strong fashion, they then embarked on a seven-match unbeaten run to get the momentum brewing, but this only soured as two wins from nine followed – with their inability to turn draws into wins costly. A dark winter saw the London outfit lose eight from 11 to plummet them near the drop, with their first triumph since November recorded in late February as they came from behind at Derby County. This, alongside the appointment of Jones, signalled an upturn in results – Charlton are now enjoying a 12-game unbeaten run, albeit eight have been a share of the spoils, with their survival all but confirmed. Finishing off strong, the hope is to carry this momentum forwards.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: LLWWL

Charlton Athletic: DDDWD

United’s Approach

Despite a strong finish at the seaside, the U’s were unable to stretch their unbeaten run last time out as they travelled home from Blackpool with a slender 1-0 defeat.

The Seasiders capitalised on tricky conditions during a wind-swept first half thanks to Sonny Carey’s well-struck long-range curler. The visitors were forced to camp back throughout but had nullified well with their tight setup. Following the break, they started to frustrate and conjured up two gilt-edged opportunities, but ultimately couldn’t make it count.

Nonetheless, the Head Coach was satisfied with the recent endeavour from his group, saying: “Of course we’re annoyed and disappointed we haven’t got the right result today, but overall there is a lot of positives and confidence we can take from these three performances. You can see the team is clearly moving in the right direction and we know that if we can perform like this we’re going to be in positions to take points and get what we need.”

With midweek results handily falling in their favour too, the 19th-placed U’s have a five-point advantage from the bottom four with a game in hand. Eight points from a possible 15 will confirm it, so the side remain focused on the goal of getting past that finish line and on their own accord too, with three games still to be played at CB5 before the conclusion.


Cambridge United Wins: 8

Charlton Athletic Wins: 8

Draws: 8

Down Memory Lane

It was a thriller in the December reverse at the Valley as Cambridge showcased excellent spirit to come from behind at the death to salvage a dramatic 2-2 draw against the Addicks.

Following an imposing first half, where the U’s took the game to their opponents, they couldn’t capitalise as quickfire strikes from talisman Alfie May and Chem Campbell gave the hosts a healthy lead. Refusing to give in, Gassan Ahadme breathed life with a header before dispatching a calm penalty deep in the afternoon to claim a share of the spoils.

Possessing identical form in the 24 matches ranging back to 1973, the outfits have met on five different occasions since promotion to the third tier, but United are yet to taste three points due to two draws and three defeats. In fact, the flurry of wins between 1991-1992 was the last time this feat was achieved, so the U’s will be hoping to get something back on this weekend’s visitors and bridge their current gap of six points and four positions.

Match Officials

Referee: Darren Drysdale

Assistant Referee: Daniel Cook

Assistant Referee: Stephen Finch

Fourth Official: Andrew Aylott