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Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Northampton Town

8 March 2024

Match Previews

Match Preview: U's vs Northampton Town

8 March 2024

Cambridge United look to start the Garry Monk era with a morale-boosting victory this weekend when Northampton Town make the short journey to the Cledara Abbey Stadium…

The local Sky Bet League One battle sees the former top-flight gaffer come in to help arrest United's recent slide, as he aims to cancel out the U’s four-game losing streak and make ground from the relegation pack.

In their way are a Cobblers outfit, who, prior to Tuesday’s heavy defeat, had been in fine fettle and remain on course for a top-half finish.

How to Watch

Saturday afternoon’s meeting - which celebrates International Women’s Day with a Her Game Too matchday - kicks off at 3pm and is set to be played out in front of a bumper CB5 crowd.

Tickets in the Newmarket Road End, Buzz Catering Main Stand and Intelligent Membranes North Habbin are expected to sell out. Be quick and secure your spot online at, over the phone by calling 01223 566500 (option 1) or by visiting the Stadium Ticket Office ahead of the game.

Fans in the UK who are unable to attend can listen to full match commentary with iFollow or on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, whilst overseas supporters can stream the game live with an iFollow Video Match Pass.

Opposition Focus

Founded in 1897, our visitors were admitted into the Football League just 23 years later and were a regular feature in the Third Division South. A remarkable rise in the 1960s under Dave Bowen saw the club achieve three promotions as they secured their place in the top tier of English football for the solitary campaign in 1965/66. Contrastingly, they had returned to the Fourth Division by 1969 – a new record of moving to and from the levels in the space of nine years. A steady few decades followed, with a recent battle ensuing between League Two and One. Under Jon Brady, the Cobblers achieved promotion at the second attempt last season after finishing 3rd and have shown excellent signs of consolidating so far.

22-year-old loanee Louie Moulden is expected to be retained between the sticks, with settled pairing John Guthrie and Sam Sherring directly ahead of him. Will Hondermarck and Patrick Brough are the settled full-backs, whilst holding midfielders Shaun McWilliams and Jack Sowerby dictate play and generate attacks for a very dangerous front four. Mitch Pinnock is the creative spark from the right, whereas the opposite flank is bossed by Sam Hoskins, who is on 14 league goals for the season and thriving with the exciting Marc Leonard in the middle of the park, who continues to excel with consistent displays. The lone striker role usually belongs to Kieron Bowie, who since late November has chipped in with eight strikes. Not short of options, the physical Louis Appere, Tyreece Simpson and Irishman Tony Springett all wait in the wings ready to make an impact.

Requiring time to build up steam, the Shoe Army tasted defeat to fellow newcomers Stevenage and Wigan Athletic in their opening matches, but dramatically rescuing a 2-2 draw against Lincoln City gave them the impetus to register back-to-back last-gasp 1-0 triumphs against bitter rivals Peterborough United and then Cheltenham Town. Form dipped from here as they suffered three consecutive losses, but immediately bounced back by overcoming Exeter City and Reading to rise to 16th. Streaky form continued, with a five-game winless run backed up by impressive form of just two defeats from 12 between November and late January, but three losses from four spoiled a potential push for the play-offs. Most recently, they built momentum with a four-game unbeaten run, but a 5-1 battering to Peterborough means they’ll be licking their wounds and are charged up to cement their top-half ambitions.

Form Guide

Cambridge United: WLLLL

Northampton Town: WDWDL

United’s Approach

Barry Corr was unable to sign off from his spell as interim boss with a win last time out as promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers secured a professional 2-0 success in Lancashire.

After gradually building up pressure, George Thomason struck the opener for the hosts shortly before the break with a distance attempt before the Trotters showed their quality to see out the victory via new signing Aaron Collins mid-way through the second half and down the U’s.

Disappointed by the display, but ultimately Corr remained focus on the task ahead, mentioning: “Unfortunately we haven’t got any results over the last few games. They were difficult fixtures, but the new man that comes in definitely has a good group of players to work with, I’m sure of that.”

That man was revealed to be former Swansea City and Leeds United boss Garry Monk, who returned to management by accepting the position in midweek. His first task is to secure a return to winning ways, with their last being the 0-4 thumping at Carlisle United three weeks ago, but with a squad heaving with experience and know-how, the right tools are on hand to help.

Quick Quotes

Monk on the task ahead: “I’m here to focus on these next eight weeks, because that’s the most important beyond anything else, but then also the idea of being able to take this club forward from the following seasons is exciting.”

Monk on form: “Recent results have dictated where we’re in an okay position, but we know in football it can become serious very, very quickly. That’s the message that’s going to be put across.

“We know we’ve got capabilities of winning games, and winning in these last 11 games and achieving what we want to achieve, it’s just I can see areas that I can improve pretty quickly that I think will help the team.”

Team News

The Head Coach confirmed an imminent return for some key men during his pre-match press conference, mentioning that strikers Fejiri Okenabirhie and Gassan Ahadme – who have both been out of action since December – and Jubril Okedina should return to training next week.

Elsewhere, Lyle Taylor is back in contention following his three-game ban, youngster George Hoddle could make the squad following his recall from St Albans City and a late assessment will be made on whether loanee James Gibbons could feature.

An injury update was also given on fellow full-back Harrison Dunk, who is making ‘good progress’, but a return date from his long-term setback was not stated.


Cambridge United Wins: 16

Northampton Town Wins: 19

Draws: 13

Down Memory Lane

Our November meeting at Sixfields resulted in defeat as the Cobblers remained firm to hold out for a 2-1 win, despite late endeavour.

Following a quiet first period, the encounter sparked into life after the break as Kieron Bowie’s opener was immediately doubled by top goalscorer Sam Hoskins. United handed themselves a lifeline near the closing stages thanks to Gassan Ahadme, but a dismissal from Paul Digby minutes later gave the visitors a mountain too high to climb.

The loss cancelled out a trio of positive cup results against Northampton, with United responding to a 2-2 FA Cup First Round draw in November 2021 by cruising to a 3-1 replay win at the Abbey – giving them the momentum to roar towards the Fourth Round of the competition. As for the Football League Trophy, a Fejiri Okenabirhie brace in 2022 secured the points.

As for league encounters, the sides last pitted their wits in the same division in 2018/19, with United losing on just the one occasion from the previous eight stretching back to 2005.

Match Officials

Referee: Declan Bourne

Assistant Referee: Alistair Nelson

Assistant Referee: Leigh Crowhurst

Fourth Official: Andrew Aylott

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