Typing the following doesn’t make me feel great; 3 defeats in a row, no goals scored.
Mark Bonner’s men look to end this recent slump with a result at fellow mid-tablers, Burton Albion.
Burton is home to terrible, piss-poor lager Carling. If I were to compare Cambridge’s performance in the final third on Tuesday night to a drink, it’d be Carling. The U’s were lacking ideas and cutting edge at Gillingham as the Ironside gap in our starting XI becomes painfully more obvious each week. Tuesday wasn’t all Carling though; there was a promising display (for 85 minutes at least) from young CB pairing Sherring and Jibs, the Knibbler had another good outing and Liam O’Neil made an impressive return to the side after being out with an illness. Tuesday saw us competitive for large periods but ultimately not good enough to find a breakthrough.
With no midweek fixture coming, Bonner will undoubtedly be looking to finally having some extended time on the training pitch, but how do we deal with the 90 minutes ahead of that? There’s plenty of calls from fans for changes to set-up, formation, style and personnel. In truth, it looks like this small squad is showing signs of tiredness and there’s not many options for rotation available. With this in mind, we predict Bonner sticks with his trusted 4-5-1 set up, even though the return of O’Neil gives other options.
I started this section with numbers, and I’ll end it with numbers. Saturday will be game 12 in 40 days.
Takeaways from Bonner’s presser
If you’re here for good news on the injury front, move on now…
- Iredale won’t feature. In fact Bonner says “We’ve got 11 weeks left of the season and he will probably be missing for more weeks than he is available for.”
- We can’t cry and moan about injuries, has full belief in players available to get the win.
- Lloyd Jones is getting closer to full fitness but won’t feature Saturday.
- Elsewhere on the injury front, “We don’t expect to see anybody starting the game that hasn’t been recently as they’re not quite ready for that yet.”
With no rest bite on the injury front the starting XI almost picks itself. There’ll be a welcome return to Wes who was sorely missed on Tuesday night. I have a feeling Adam May might get a rest.
Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Dunk, Digby, O’Neil, The Knibbler, Brophy, Wessi, Smith.
Our hosts on Saturday are directly above us in the table. And just like us, Burton have lost the last two in the league, so will be looking to get back on track against us.
There’s been a fair bit of movement in the Burton squad since we last played. This is unsurprising given how large their squad was and some of their senior players have moved on (including selling midfielder Tom O’Connor to everyone’s favourite rich conference side). January also saw a few new arrivals, including Sam Hughes, signed from Leicester.
The Brewers also line up differently to when we last met, they now operate a back three. You won’t need me to remind you how well we do against back 3s…
Who is their player to watch?
Louis Moult was the big summer signing but injuries have hampered his time at Burton so far. Now back to fitness, Moult could be the edge Burton have been crying out for this season.
Defender Tom Hamer has a habit of popping up with the odd goal.
Who’s in the dugout?
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, a man whose biggest achievement this season was becoming a meme after he was caught in between a Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher argument on Sky Sports.
I could go on about JFH’s management style, or I could remind you of this screamer he scored against Spurs…
What’s their recent form like?
Nothing impressive in the league; D-L-W-L-L
Any ex-United players?
Tom Hamer made a successful loan appearance for the U’s earlier this season, bagging twice.
Last time out
Tom Hamer became a U’s legend as he guided Cambridge to their first league win back in the third tier.
A matchday album to listen to
Black Country, New Road: ‘Ants from Up There’
No difficult second album for London via Cambridge seven-piece Black Counry, New Road.
There’s less Jazz than the debut, but we’re treated to more harmonies on this majestic and romantic baroque pop gem.
The UTAS team’s terrible Moosenet predictions
Jordan: 1-1 Smith
Julian: 2-1 United, Lankester
Swindle: 1-1, Knibbler
Tom: 2-0 Burton
From the archive
A visit to Burton? There was only going to be one past encounter that we’re going to include…
14 years ago, Lee McEvilly scored twice from two of the most correct decisions ever given by a referee as United come from 2 down in the first leg of our play-off semi final.