Words by Marc Manning – @mmanning98
After an undeserved 2-0 defeat at the hands of a resurgent Charlton Athletic last Saturday, the U’s will be hoping to convert another strong performance into a win against table-topping Rotherham United this weekend.
Mark Bonner’s side dominated throughout at The Valley without finding the net despite Sam Smith squandering two huge chances to sail away with at least a point from South London. Bonner and his team will be hoping the team’s shooting boots will be firmly on this weekend against a team currently top of the league with the best defensive record in the division.
All eyes will be on the U’s starting line-up come 2pm on Saturday with Wes Hoolahan still 50/50 on playing a part after missing out last weekend. With his performance in the second half at Rotherham only a few weeks previous being a real highlight of the season, U’s fans will be hoping the magician will be fit enough to feature at some point during the 90 minutes.
Takeaways from Bonner’s presser
- Aiming to score points off them and build off our impressive second half at their place in November
- Tracey definitely out, waiting on scans
- Hoolahan back on grass so could play a part
- Expecting to put more Covid protocols in place on the training ground
Full presser available here:
It’s difficult to predict a line-up when we’re still not 100% sure on Hoolahan’s fitness, but does anyone deserve to be dropped after the last two performances? And regardless, he could make a huge impact in the second half of the bench.
Mitov; Williams, Okedina, Iredale, Dunk; Digby, Weir; Smith, May, Brophy; Big Joe.
Rotherham United make their first visit to the Abbey in over 20 years hoping to build on what has been a great start to life back in League One, and hopeful that a 6-1 defeat isn’t on the cards for themselves this weekend like it was in 2000.
Since their previous outing against the U’s in November, the Millers have been rewarded with a trip to face QPR in the FA Cup 3rd Round as well as maintaining their impressive 20-game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Their incredible run in League One has seen them top the table in recent weeks after back-to-back high scoring home wins against Burton Albion and Gillingham. There are always goals on the agenda when Rotherham are playing with duo Freddie Ladapo and Michael Smith (who was suspended on our trip up to Yorkshire) spearheading their attack.
Get a full preview courtesy of New York Talk in this episode of UTAS before our November trip.
Who is their player to watch?
Academy graduate Ben Wiles is really turning heads in League One this season with his dynamic performances in the centre of the midfield alongside Daniel Barlaser and Oliver Rathbone.
The midfield battle will be a fun one to watch on Saturday and the U’s will have to bring their A game and more if they want to come away with any sort of result.
Who’s in the dugout?
Millers legend Paul Warne has been in charge at the club for five years and will be hoping to add a third promotion to his impressive CV in May. His efforts at The New York Stadium has recently seen him be linked with the managerial vacancy down the road at Barnsley.
What’s their recent league form like?
W, W, D, W, W
Any ex-United players?
Not since November 20th, no.
Last time out
The much aforementioned Rotherham 3-1 Cambridge. First half defensive errors once again proved costly for United on the road, despite a strong second half.
A matchday album to listen to
Gaffa Tape Sandy – Family Mammal
The Bury St Edmunds-based trio are at the forefront of a buzzing local music scene and their second EP released in 2019 catapulted them onto festival stages at home and abroad. Their brand of raucous garage rock is infectious with tracks like Meat Head and Headlights raising awareness on real-life issues.
The UTAS team’s terrible Moosenet predictions
Jordan – United 2-1, Ironside
Julian – United 1-0, Ironside
Owen – United 1-0, May
Jack – 1-1, Smith
From the archive
A rampant 4-1 win for this United side. That number 9 looks like he could do a job…