Following wins in both the league and the EFL Trophy over the last seven days, Morecambe have hit a much-needed bit of form and will look to build on these performances as they face off against Cambridge United at the Mazuma Stadium this Saturday.
Cambridge United finished in a comfortable 14th place last campaign amassing 58 points; 25 away from a play-off spot and 18 from a relegation. The U’s were always looking at finishing within this large midtable group from the off and the steady results proved this point.
Much like Morecambe, Cabridge United had been promoted up from League Two in 20/21 and so were one of the favourites to face the drop straight away, however, they silenced a lot of critics and held their own in a division that will have been surprised to see them perform so well. With their survival last season, Cambridge will once again look to spring a surprise and climb even further up the table again this campaign.
The Yellows have started the 22/23 season in tumultuous form. Having gathered three points from both MK Dons and Exeter City but have faltered to disappointed losses against Barnsley and Cheltenham in the last two fixtures in the league.
Cambridge United also gathered points against Lincoln City and Burton Albion and a shared point away at Charlton. Ultimately, their form has been all over the place and lacks any real consistency as results tend flicker between impressive and frustrating.
Current United boss Mark Bonner has been steadfast in his approach to deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation and has rarely deviated from this so far this campaign. The centre-back partnership of Lloyd Jones and Jubril Okedina has started each of Cambridge United’s 9 league games together and are two of only three players for the U’s to have played every minute of league football this season.
Further up the pitch, midfielders Harvey Knibbs, Paul Digby and Sam Smith have all started every league game this season and have provided a solid spine for the team to improve their form around for the rest of the season.
Player to Watch
Joe Ironside has been one of the most notable acquisitions for United over the past few years notching an impressive 45 goal contributions in 95 games ever since joining on a free from Macclesfield Town. His work rate and determination have seen him rise through the English football pyramid even in the latter stages of his career to leave him as one of the more potent dangers League One has to offer.
His game against Lincoln City really summed up the way in which Ironside plays the game. Following a head collision, the forward required stitches on his head before continuing to play in a game in which he bagged race and took home the player of the match award.
Following their promotion in 20/21 and surprise safety in 21/22, Cambridge will look to further establish themselves in the division and beyond that look to further progress up into the Championship.
Given the comfortable nature of last season's survival, Cambridge United will be wary of the second season syndrome and will fight once more to stay in the division and may even surprise some by reach for a play-off spot.
The two side have faced off on 17 occasions with the record being fairly even. The Shrimps have come out winners in 6 games with Cambridge United winning 8.
One point of note is that of the last 6 meetings between the two teams, Cambridge United have won 5 and drawn one. This could spell potential danger for Derek Adams’ side.
Taking into account the form of the two clubs, my money is on Morecambe to continue the good feeling and turn over Cambridge United in a close 1-0 win for the home side. However, Cambridge have a lot of quality and it would not be a surprise for the U’s to win by a comfortable margin.