"Of that district I prefer
The lovely hamlet Grantchester
For Cambridge people rarely smile
Being urban, squat, and packed with guile"
As the fixtures pile up thick and fast, we face what is undoubtedly our biggest test of the season so far. The U’s currently lie in 2nd place in the League 2 table, and they are the leading goalscorers by something approaching a country mile (19 scored, compared with our 10). Elected to the Football League in 1970, they’ve almost perfected the art of the yo-yo - only the top tier has been denied to them, and they’ve also exited and re-entered the League in that time. Their current playing squad doesn’t reveal any ex-Saddlers, but goalkeeper John Ruddy started his football career there, and of course Richard Money was the U’s manager for 3 years (2012-2015). Current form is:-
October 3rd Exeter City (A) Lost 2-0
October 10th Newport County (H) Won 2-1
October 17th Scunthorpe United (A) Won 0-5
October 20th Port Vale (H) Won 3-1
October 24th Bolton Wanderers (H) Drew 1-1
The 5-nil away win at Scunthorpe may seem to be a flash in the pan, until you see that this was merely a repeat of their showing at Morecambe in September, another 5-0 away win. It’s evident that Cambridge United (on their day) can “score for fun”, and the prospect of our defence gifting them a couple for good measure sends shivers where they are not required.
Darrell Clarke has apparently admitted that he got his team selection wrong for the game at Barrow, so we can probably expect further tinkering as he attempts to get things back on track. There are two certainties at present … (a) We are the only team in the entire Football League still undefeated, but (b) Only winning a quarter of our matches isn’t going to see us racing up the table.
Team selection for this one largely depends on the injury situation - we know that “Flash” Gordon will not be available, and there must be doubts over Rory Holden and James Clarke. There also hasn’t been any news as to the progress of Cockerill-Mollett … as always, we shall have to wait and see.
Prediction? If we can preserve our unbeaten run at the end of this match it’s probably all we can hope for. The U’s have only conceded 5 goals in their 8 games, so scoring won’t be easy for us (and neither will defending!!). Let’s go for a streaky 1-1 draw. Scorer irrelevant.