Date: 26th November 2018 at 9:00pm
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The final game of November sees Crewe Alexandra host Cambridge United at the Alexandra Stadium tomorrow night ahead of our regular break over the FA Cup 2nd Round weekend.

Looking at the hosts, so far this season they have 5 victories, 4 draws and 10 losses in the league as they sit in 21st place. They have beaten Notts County, Stevenage, Swindon Town, Macclesfield Town and Grimsby Town, they have drawn with Northampton Town, Mansfield Town, Lincoln City and Bury while they have lost to Port Vale, Exeter City, Cheltenham Town, Carlisle United, Colchester United, Newport County, Forest Green Rovers, Crawley Town, MK Dons and Oldham Athletic.

In cup competitions, they lost to Newport County in the EFL Cup while they lost to Guiseley in the FA Cup. They have had some success in the EFL Trophy, topping their group after beating Southampton’s Under-21 team and Colchester United and will play Northampton Town next Tuesday in Round 2.

Looking back in the archives, the two teams have met 28 times with Cambridge leading the head-to-head with 14 wins to 7 with 7 draws. Crewe’s biggest win came in a 3-0 victory at the Abbey Stadium in October 1986 while Cambridge’s biggest win came at the same ground the following season with a 4-1 win. Last season saw the U’s do the league double, winning 1-0 in the corresponding fixture in September before a 3-1 victory at home in December.

Who are the officials for the game?

The officials for this game see Tom Nield as the man in the middle where he is assisted by Richard Wigglesworth and Peter Gooch with Robert Merchant being the fourth official. During the last 5 seasons the following Crewe games have been refereed by Nield:

  • Chesterfield 0-2 Crewe Alexandra (26th December 2017) – Porter, Kirk
  • Crawley Town 1-2 Crewe Alexandra (28th April 2018) – Ng, Pickering

I asked Cambridge supporter Owen Mizon, writer for YABAcufc, for his thoughts going into the game.

What do you think of Cambridge’s transfer activity over the summer?

I felt it was a frustrating transfer window for the U’s. A striker or two was vital, as was defensive cover. Nevertheless, it was clear that Dunne wanted to continue last season’s momentum by keeping the same side bar one or two characters. A tight-knit group can, of course, be risky. I believe we’ve seen that at times. However, I have faith that January can prove positive for the U’s transfer-wise.

What do you think the team will be for tomorrow’s game?

Many of the United faithful were shocked to see veteran David Forde retain his place between the sticks last Saturday. It’s been a tough season for the former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper. Young blood in Dimitar Mitov is what could be necessary soon. Whether that will be at Gresty Road, it’s anyone’s guess. Brad Halliday and Liam O’Neil could return albeit with injury struggles, it could be a late call. I’d expect the likes of Jevani Brown, George Maris, Reggie Lambe and Jabo Ibehre to start too.

Who would you say is the one player that we should look for in the U’s team?

On his day, Jabo Ibehre can be a handful. His presence is invaluable, especially towards the latter of matches. Jevani Brown is a tricky attacking-midfielder with an eye for goal too, expect good runs from him. Lastly, when Gary Deegan plays blinders, United tend to as well. He’s a big figure in the squad.

With Cambridge’s run of 4 straight victories in head-to-head games over the last couple of seasons, do you feel that tomorrow night’s game will be the game that kick-starts your season?

United have indeed enjoyed some positive results against Crewe recently. I think it was key in each game just how much of a talisman Uche Ikpeazu was, he’s been a big miss. I’d like to think a win would kick-start another unbeaten run for United, which going into the Christmas period is useful. Mid-table consolidation is something I’d welcome with open arms this season.

What do you think would be a respectable season for the U’s and who do you think will be promoted and relegated at the end of the season?

As stated above, between the region of 12th to 14th is something I’d be happy with come May. I certainly wouldn’t have taken that during pre-season, but that’s football! We won’t go down, we have that cutting edge others don’t have. I think the National League beckons for Macclesfield Town and Cheltenham Town. As for who’s going up, Lincoln City, MK Dons, Mansfield Town and I’ll go for a slight outsider in Bury.