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Match Previews

Match Preview: Shrewsbury Town vs Cambridge United

2 February 2024

Match Previews

Match Preview: Shrewsbury Town vs Cambridge United

2 February 2024

Cambridge United will look to rekindle their goalscoring touch and stretch their unbeaten run in Sky Bet League One this weekend as they do battle with Shrewsbury Town at the Croud Meadow…

The U’s are out to make it a fourth game without defeat as they strive to secure their first victory on the road since August against Salop who, despite being the division’s joint-lowest scorers, sit a point and place above in the table and will have momentum after breaking their losing streak last weekend.

United head into the game with added firepower in the squad, following Macauley Bonne's deadline day arrival.

How to Watch

A healthy away following have already secured their place for Saturday’s clash in Shropshire, which kicks off at 3pm.

Online sales have now ended, but supporters can buy tickets from the ground on the day of the game.

Opposition Focus

Experiencing mixed fortunes since their formation in 1886, Town moved to Gay Meadow in 1910 and joined the Football League in 1950 following a successful election campaign. Just shy of three decades later, they made the second division for the first time in their history. Although they dropped down the leagues slightly from here, they’ve established themselves as a no-nonsense third tier outfit ever since their promotion from League Two in 2015, even making the play-off final in 2017/18 after a superb campaign, but fell short to Rotherham United at Wembley. First, Steve Cotterill laid stern foundations for Salop in recent years, firing them to 12th last season – their best showing in five years – but the new era stagnated under Matt Taylor, who was replaced by a very familiar face in Paul Hurst a week ago. At the helm for a second time, can the 49-year-old restore their underdog spirits?

A successful start to his tenure means he’s unlikely to change a winning formula, with an efficient 4-3-3 formation deployed last time out. Marko Marosi is indispensable between the sticks and has picked up eight clean sheets so far this season, whereas the popular defensive pairing of the physical Aaron Pierre and aerial threat Chey Dunkley are tough to break down. Mal Benning and Morgan Feeney protect through the flanks and help create for a midfield three of Jordan Shipley, Carl Winchester and Taylor Perry, who have Tom Bayliss and Tom Bloxham either side of vital cog Daniel Udoh.

Following a positive opening month to the campaign, where Salop grabbed three wins from their opening six, they had to endure a tricky, winless September which saw them lose three on the bounce and draw once without managing to score. That goalless draw against Charlton Athletic did spark a run of one defeat in five, which included the reverse fixture at the Abbey. Four losses in five turned then turned into a three-game unbeaten streak in early December to lodge the side in the top half, but a turgid run ensued, where the side lost six of their following seven before a morale-boosting 0-2 triumph over Northampton Town last time out. It lifted the group to 15th, who now look to extend their current six-point gap from the bottom four.

Form Guide

Shrewsbury Town: WLLLW

Cambridge United: LLWDD

United’s Approach

Last time out, United were forced into a second consecutive stalemate after they were unable to capitalise against a dogged ten-man Burton Albion at CB5.

On an afternoon where the U’s dominated proceedings throughout, they couldn’t quite capitalise on the momentum of Steve Seddon’s dismissal mid-way through the second half, as the Brewers remained extremely resolute to deal with an influx of crosses and frustrate their hosts.

Summarising the display, Neil Harris stated: “We were the miles better team 11v11 and 11v10… I think we’ve had 16 or 18 shots on goal, 70% possession, we stood up to the physical nature of Burton’s play, so loads and loads of positives, but we didn’t do the important thing and that’s put the ball in the net.”

The U’s will undoubtedly look at the positives of back-to-back clean sheets which has put them to 11 for the campaign – only three sides have more. Now in the midst of a three-match unbeaten run, they now will implement a plan to turn draws into wins, with just one registered from six. The tight table currently reads at three points separating 20th from 14th, so it’s the perfect time to secure a first win on the road since August.

Quick Quotes

Harris on the transfer window: “We know, especially with the quality we’ve added in the window, that we’re going to be a different animal now moving forward.”

Harris on Shrewsbury: “They’ve got a new manager bounce and changed shape last week, so straight away he’s (Hurst) adjusted. What we face Saturday will be our best guess.”

Team News

The Head Coach revealed the major boost that George Thomas could be back in contention for the weekend after returning to training following the injury he picked up on New Year’s Day, whilst Harrison Dunk is creeping closer to a return after building up his minutes via behind-closed-doors friendlies.


Shrewsbury Town Wins: 15

Cambridge United Wins: 12

Draws: 11

Down Memory Lane

In October’s reverse encounter, late drama ensured the spoils were shared as the Shrews claimed a 1-1 draw against Cambridge.

A spectacular solo effort from Michael Morrison mid-way through the second half looked to be an extremely worthy matchwinner, but the U’s were pegged back near the death as Taylor Perry snatched at a golden opportunity to grab a point apiece.

On home turf, United haven’t lost against the Shrews from the last three occasions, but the Shropshire home has witnessed enjoyable afternoons most recently, with a late show wrapping up a 4-1 triumph in October 2021 and a 5-1 steamroll in January of last year. The only win at the New Meadow was during an EFL Trophy tie in the summer of 2016 when Joe Pigott’s goal secured the points. The line-up on that day: Norris, Taylor, Legge, Dallison, Davies, Gosling, Clark, Newton, Elito, Pigott, Williamson.

Match Officials

Referee: Craig Hicks

Assistant Referee: Danny Guest

Assistant Referee: Adam Ricketts

Fourth Official: Alex Gray

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