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Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Burton Albion

25 January 2024

Club News

Match Preview: U's vs Burton Albion

25 January 2024

Cambridge United plot to extend their unbeaten run to three matches in Sky Bet League One this weekend as they welcome Burton Albion to the Cledara Abbey Stadium…

Heading into the encounter in similar fashion, the U’s and the Brewers are nailed on points with the single place separating them in the table – despite each registering one win from their previous five, recent signs indicate that form could be about to change. With a solid home record behind them, Neil Harris’ men will hope to use that to their advantage.

How to Watch

Another near-capacity crowd is expected for Saturday’s annual Academy Day, which gets underway at 3pm. The Mead Plant & Grab South Stand will be populated with the Club’s youth players and their families, whilst the other three sides of the ground are expected to almost sell out.

Just a handful of tickets remain in the Newmarket Road End and Buzz Catering Main Stand, whereas a few hundred remain in the Intelligent Membranes Habbin. Secure your place online at, over the phone on 01223 566500 (option 1) or by visiting the Stadium Ticket Office ahead of kick-off.

Opposition Focus

Founded back in 1950, the former non-league outfit – similarly to United - rose through the ranks within the past few decades and have not looked back ever since they reached the Football League in 2009. Enjoying rapid progression, the side ascended as high as the Championship as recently as 2016, where they spent two seasons. Now in the midst of stabilisation, previous rankings of 16th, 16th and 15th ensure the Brewers are part of the third tier furniture, can this campaign signal an improvement under the newly-appointed Martin Paterson?

After parting company with Dino Maamria in early December, the onus is now on the former Burnley and Northern Ireland striker to use his coaching experience in America - and as assistant to Michael Duff at Swansea City – to galvanise the team. Operating with a 3-4-2-1, New Zealand goalkeeper Max Crocombe will breed confidence following a clean sheet last time out, whilst a back three of the experienced John Brayford, Ryan Sweeney and Jasper Moon are developing a real understanding. Continental full-backs Jake Caprice and Steve Seddon are extremely versatile, whereas Rotherham United loanee Tolaji Bola will be vying for his debut. Indispensable midfield partners Joe Powell and Deji Oshilaja should start, with their recent form suiting attacking options Mason Bennett, the creative Mark Helm and youngster Joe Hugill, who plays the lone role.

Requiring time to build up steam, the Brewers picked up just two points and two goals from their opening seven games, with five losses either side of tense draws against Wycombe Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers. Contrasting form was picked up from here, with a siege of momentum seeing the side then go unbeaten in seven, picking up an impressive five wins, including four on the bounce in October. Clearly a streaky outfit, they responded to a 4-1 battering against Bristol Rovers with a run that saw them fail to notch a win from eight attempts, but successive 1-0 victories against Blackpool and Shrewsbury Town over the Christmas period prevented the slump. Most recently, a winless start to 2024 was cancelled out at the Pirelli Stadium last week as they secured a 2-0 triumph over Charlton Athletic to kick-start the Paterson era.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: LLLWD

Burton Albion: LDLLW

United’s Approach

The U’s make a return to CB5 with a small unbeaten run built up after they secured a hard-fought stalemate against Exeter City down at Devon last weekend.

During a game of very little opportunities, the visitors were unable to conjure up enough chances to take the match by the scruff of the neck, but remained compact and had to dig in with some critical blocks and saves near the death to secure a tenth league shutout of the campaign.

Reflecting on the display, Neil Harris said: “We didn’t deserve to win the game, that’s for sure. I think a point was fair… I asked the boys today for a clean sheet mentality. We maybe gave up a little bit of quality at times going forward to get a clean sheet mentality away from the Abbey.”

A foundation to build upon, the U’s will now strive to attack the match on home soil, where they’ve contrastingly enjoyed real comfort. From their previous ten matches in all competitions in Cambridgeshire, they’ve claimed seven wins, one draw and just two losses. Maintain that and they’ll be confident they can soon close the gap to 11th, which currently stands at three points.


Cambridge United Wins: 7

Burton Albion Wins: 7

Draws: 5

Down Memory Lane

The last time we met, Burton secured the plaudits in front of the Sky Sports cameras as they registered a clinical 2-1 success in October’s reverse fixture.

A pacy start in front of the cameras saw the Brewers take an early lead through Josh Walker, before doubling their advantage on the half an hour mark thanks to Deji Oshilaja’s close-range finish. Fejiri Okenabirhie reduced the deficit with his seventh of the campaign during a bright second half spell, but time ran out for the U’s, who suffered back-to-back defeats. 

That means the Brewers are eager to secure a third successive victory against United, but recent meetings show it’s always a cracker at the Abbey. In their meetings since returning to the Football League, Burton were crowned League Two champions in 2015 with a 2-3 win, whereas most recently the U’s have secured a scintillating 3-0 win in 2021 and a topsy-turvy 4-3 triumph a year later.

Match Officials

Referee: Ed Duckworth

Assistant Referee: David Harrison

Assistant Referee: Ryan Head

Fourth Official: Andrew Aylott

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