What Sunderland can expect from Cambridge United as Cats chase League One play-off place - 'Wins over Wigan and Ipswich' 'No pressure'

Sunderland will host Cambridge United at the Stadium of Light this weekend – but what can they expect from The U’s?

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 11:30 am

After winning promotion from League Two last season, Mark Bonner’s side are 12th in the table heading into the match but were beaten 2-0 by Charlton on Tuesday.

We caught up with Cambridge reporter Stephen Page from Cambridgeshire Live to get the inside track:

How have Cambridge been playing recently?

Cambridge United boss Manager Mark Bonner (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

SP: “Despite their League One safety being secured in recent weeks, Cambridge have shown no signs of slowing down in the final games of the season.

"They come into Saturday’s game off the back of four wins in their last six matches, securing their best wins of the league campaign away to Ipswich and Wigan in that run.

"There have been some disappointing results in recent weeks as well, but that is to be expected given the tough run that they’ve had.

"On the whole, they’ve had an excellent season, and to be competing for a top half finish as a newly-promoted side to this league is a superb effort.

"They head to the Stadium of Light without any pressure to secure a result.”

What system are they likely to play?

SP: “The U’s have played a 4-2-3-1 throughout the season and I’d expect that to be the same for this weekend’s fixture.

"They are comfortable out of possession, and when they get it right, they are defensively very well-organised and difficult to break down.

"They will look to use target man Joe Ironside as an outlet up front from which to build their attacks, and have pace in their attacking options that make them a counter attacking threat.

"They’ve shown their ability to protect a lead against some of the top sides, so will be prepared to frustrate Sunderland should they be able to get in front."

Who are their key players?

SP: Goalkeeper Dimi Mitov has been the standout performer for the U’s in the second half of the season, earning United points and wins with some superb shot stopping. He produced an outstanding display in the FA Cup win at Newcastle and has been excellent ever since, so may prove tough to get past once again this weekend.

“Centre-back Lloyd Jones has put in some brilliant performances in the last few matches, while Sam Smith (19) and Ironside (15) are United’s main source of goals.

“Wes Hoolahan always warrants a mention for the quality he possesses, but I wouldn’t expect him to start on Saturday.”

What's the latest team news?

SP: “Sam Sherring (hip/groin) and Harrison Dunk (shin) have both been ruled out after missing the last two fixtures.

“Wes Hoolahan is unlikely to start after playing 90 minutes in the loss against Charlton on Tuesday, and may not travel with the squad.

“Captain Greg Taylor is a long-term absentee, whilst loanees Jensen Weir and Lorent Tolaj have gone back to Brighton.”

Can you have a go at predicted line up?

SP: “I expect that they will revert to a similar side that won at Wigan last weekend.

“Mitov, Williams, Okedina, Jones, Iredale, May, Digby (C), Smith, Knibbs, Brophy, Ironside.”