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Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Bolton Wanderers

19 February 2024

Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Bolton Wanderers

19 February 2024

Cambridge United aim to continue their pursuit up the Sky Bet League One table as they take on promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers at the Cledara Abbey Stadium in midweek…

Just two weeks on from the abandonment of their original tie, the sides go toe-to-toe again in similar circumstances. Fresh from their biggest victory of the season, the U’s have made ground on the lower echelons of the table and are now looking up, whereas the same can be said about the Trotters - who are hot on the heels of the automatic spots thanks to the solitary defeat since mid-December, with a current six-match unbeaten run to preserve.

How to Watch

A healthy crowd is anticipated for Tuesday evening’s re-arranged encounter, which kicks off at 7:45pm.

With the Newmarket Road End and Buzz Catering Main Stand expected to reach near-capacity, be quick in securing your place online at, over the phone by calling 01223 566500 (option 1) or by visiting the Ticket Office ahead of kick-off.

All tickets for the original date (Tuesday 6 February) will remain valid. However, supporters who are unable to attend can request a refund by emailing

Supporters who bought an iFollow Match Pass for the game will automatically have streaming access for this fixture. However, if they wish to request a refund this can be done by emailing

Opposition Focus

Formed in 1874, the four-time FA Cup winners and EFL Trophy holders have had a topsy-turvy couple of decades under their belt, from the highs of a UEFA Cup run to sliding to the pits of the fourth tier. Since the appointment of Ian Evatt in July 2020, the Trotters’ faithful have been accustomed to an impressive incline, which has consisted of one promotion, stabilisation and the awakening of a giant. The aim of playing Championship football for the first time since 2019 looms closer, particularly after last campaign’s play-off finish, with progression looking inevitable this time around.

Deploying a penetrable, modern-day 3-1-4-2 formation, Evatt likes to suffocate and attack from the get-go, whilst remaining resolute at the back too. So far, it’s paying off – Wanderers have conceded the joint-least in the league with a mere 27. At just 25, former Chelsea keeper Nathan Baxter has been a revelation, as has Eoin Toal ahead of him, who could be partnered by loanee Caleb Taylor and former U Jack Iredale following a recent injury to colossus Ricardo Santos. Josh Sheehan plays the all-important holding role, with Kyle Dempsey and Paris Maghoma just ahead enjoying the freedom and dictating for wide options Josh Cogley and Zac Ashworth. In the final third, powerhouses Dion Charles and Victor Adeboyejo have developed a superb partnership, combining for 21 goals in total, with heaps of options on the bench in the form of experienced Cameron Jerome and Jon Dabi Bodvarsson, as well as the recent addition of 2022/23 League One Player of the Season Aaron Collins.

An imperious introduction to the campaign saw the Trotters ease to comfortable victories against Lincoln City, Cheltenham Town and Fleetwood Town, scoring nine in the process to flex their attacking prowess. A surprise 0-4 hammering to Wigan Athletic followed, but they responded with a run of three wins, two draws and the sole defeat in their next six. A surprise defeat to newly-relegated Carlisle United signalled an upturn where they secured six wins on the bounce, including a 7-0 hammering at home to Exeter City to briefly rise them towards the summit. A three-match winless run followed, but since the Christmas period they’ve rekindled their front-footed approach by registering 23 points from a possible 30. A top six spot looks to be the worst case scenario for Bolton, who have a nine-point gap from top of the table to bridge with three games in hand, which starts this evening.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: DWLLW

Bolton Wanderers: LDDWD

United’s Approach

United returned to winning ways in emphatic fashion on the weekend as they expertly dispatched basement side Carlisle United 0-4 at Brunton Park.

After the visitors found their feet in the early stages, they never looked back – capping a positive first half in Cumbria with the one-goal advantage after Sullay Kaikai rounded off a deadly move. Remaining in the ascendency, the strikes flowed after the break, with a forced own goal and a header from Elias Kachunga putting the game to bed, before Ryan Bennett got in on the act late on with his first goal for the club.

Delighted with the victory, Neil Harris said: “I’m really proud of my players’ performance. The only disappointment for the attacking players was that they haven’t scored more goals between them. I thought the subs made a really good impact and we got some good minutes into lads by being so comfortably in-front. Our shape was very, very impressive today - we countered with real quality and pace and executed some moments really well.”

For the U’s, it was the perfect response to successive defeats, as they recorded their biggest league win since December 2021. Oozing class with a front-footed attacking approach, whilst remaining defensively sound to earn a 12th clean sheet of the campaign, the signs look promising for the side in 16th With a six-point gap from the drop, and games in hand over their rivals, they can now attack a tricky four-game block with optimism.


Cambridge United Wins: 4

Bolton Wanderers Wins: 7

Draws: 8

Down Memory Lane

A memorable meeting as recently as April 2023 saw the U’s claim what proved to be a crucial point in their fight towards safety as they snatched a last-gasp 1-1 draw against the high-flyers in Lancashire.

In front of a bumper 24,377, the U’s played with sheer confidence and pushed the hosts all the way. Despite falling behind on the 67th minute through Declan John, Mark Bonner’s side remained upbeat and earned their way back into the game via Sam Smith’s deft header at the conclusion to deservedly ensure a share of the spoils.

It was a similar story in the reverse fixture in November 2022 as a spirited United were forced to settle for a point against the ten-man Trotters after they were unable to capitalise on any of the gilt-edged chances they created during a thoroughly-improved performance.

All in all, the head-to-head reads at one win from the seven meetings between the sides stretching back to the turn of the millennium, so the hosts will be hoping for a similar result to the 1-0 victory on this soil back in August 2021.

Match Officials

Referee: David Rock

Assistant Referee: Daniel Robinson

Assistant Referee: Andy Bennett

Fourth Official: Aji Ajibola

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