'Don’t need many chances to score': The ex-Norwich playmaker and Cambridge United target man Sunderland will have to be wary of

Sunderland will face League One newcomers Cambridge this weekend – but what can Lee Johnson’s side expect from the U’s?

Friday, 26th November 2021, 6:00 am

We caught up with Cambridge reporter Stephen Page from Cambridgeshire Live to get the inside track on Mark Bonner’s men:

How have Cambridge fared so far this season?

SP: “I think it’s been a good start to the season for Cambridge. As a newly-promoted side, the U’s have shown their ability to compete at a higher level, and will be satisfied with their points return to date.

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"United were as high as tenth a few weeks ago, but have hit a tough run of fixtures of late that has seen them drop down to 15th.

"The fundamental aim for the club this season is to retain their League One status, so to be seven points above the relegation zone at this stage is pleasing.

"The U’s can take confidence into Saturday from their last outing against Wigan, where they came within minutes of claiming an impressive win against a fellow high-flying outfit, so they will look for a repeat performance this weekend.”

Who have been their key players?

Cambridge United striker Joe Ironside.

SP: “Wes Hoolahan is always the standout name on the team sheet for United. The attacking midfielder consistently produces a level of quality that shows why he has played at higher levels. He is an excellent creative outlet for the U’s and keeping him quiet is important in nullifying United’s attacking threat.

“Up front, Joe Ironside is always a handful for opposing defenders. The striker is constantly in a battle with centre-halves, and is an important part of United’s style of play as the side’s target man.

"Jack Iredale also deserves a mention. Having had to be patient for game time last season, the left-back has played every minute of the league campaign this season, and has put in a consistently high level of performances across a number of positions.”

What system are they likely to play?

SP: “United usually play a 4-2-3-1 and I would expect that to be the case against Sunderland. The U’s are a side that predominantly aim to be defensively solid and well-organised, and are comfortable being out of possession.

“I would expect Sunderland to have more of the ball and be on the front foot for large spells, and Cambridge will aim to frustrate them, with their challenge being to have spells of possession and territory themselves as often as possible.

“The U’s are a clinical side and don’t need many chances to score a goal.”

What’s the latest team and injury news?

SP: “The U’s have been missing two important players in Lloyd Jones and Shilow Tracey of late. Jones is not expected to be in the squad on Saturday, and has been a miss at centre-back for the U’s.

"There is a chance that Tracey could make his return to action this weekend, which would be a boost. The winger has had a good season to date and carries a unique threat with his pace and direct running.

"Hoolahan is also expected to come back into the team, as at 39, he is rested for midweek games. Captain Greg Taylor and Liam O’Neil are long-term absentees.”

Can you have a go at a predicted line-up?

SP: “Mitov, Williams, Masterson, Iredale, Dunk, May, Digby, Smith, Hoolahan, Brophy, Ironside.”

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