Cambridge United manager Colin Calderwood has urged his side to start their festive fixtures with a win against Leyton Orient on Saturday. The U’s host 19th placed Orient looking to extend their unbeaten run with the 54 year old keen for victory. Speaking to Cambridge-united.co.uk “ we’ve really got to be bullish and try and win them. The test of Swindon comes after Orient and we have to take care of that this weekend”.
- Sit 11th on 28 points
- Only won one of their last eight games in all competitions – W1 D4 L3
- League Record – P21 W7 D7 L7 F25 A20
- Not gone four unbeaten since August
The U’s made it three unbeaten with a 1-1 draw at Cheltenham last weekend. Paul Lewis put them ahead before William Boyle levelled eight minutes after half time. Calderwood was pleased with how his side earned a point but acknowledges that still have room to improve. Speaking to Cambridge-united.co.uk “ we get through with less drama than maybe we would have experienced in months gone by. It’s a good sign but it’s obvious to be better we have to be better in the second half; the level in the first half repeated for longer”.
Cambridge have only lost one of their last five league games and sit just six points from the play offs. With 15 points available in the next two weeks, midfielder Reggie Lambe is keen for his side to look towards the top seven. Speaking to Cambridge-united.co.uk “I still think the minimum we should be aiming for the playoffs , I feel we have enough in this team to push on especially with most of the players coming back into the side fit. With a full strength team, I really think we can push up the league”.
- Kept seven league clean sheets – (four at home)
- Kept two in last three
- Kept three in last six home games
- Conceded 11/20 league goals in second half (6/9) at home
With three of their festive fixtures at the Abbey, Calderwood is keen to use home advantage and the home crowd to pick up maximum points. The U’s beat Plymouth last time out and the former Forest boss wants his side to get to that level. Speaking to Cambridge-united.co.uk “playing at home, we need to find a way to score goals, keep a clean sheet, we were quite good against Plymouth. There is an added attraction, increased crowds and atmospheres you get at the game which generates interest”.
- Home League Record – P10 W4 D3 L3 F13 A9
- Unbeaten in last six in all competitions – W3 D3
- One defeat in last eight – W3 D4 L1
- Taken 11 points from last 15 available
- Not won back to back games since February
Calderwood has utilised a midfield diamond in recent weeks with the return of midfielder Samir Carruthers. Despite the change the 54 year old is still coy on is his preferred formation. Midfielder Lambe highlighted attacking wise formation isn’t that vital but defensively it becomes more important. Speaking to Cambridge-united.co.uk “as long as we’re able to get on the ball and find space, then it doesn’t matter too much. The formation is probably more important when we lose possession and the shape we get into without the ball”.
- Failed to score in nine league games (four at home)
- Only Stevenage (11) and Grimsby (10) have failed in more games
- Only scored once in last four games
- Only scored more than once in one of their last 11 games
- Scored in last four home games and five of their last six
Despite Orient’s lowly position in the table, the O’s are three unbeaten like the U’s and Calderwood is wary of the threat that Ross Embleton’s men may pose. Speaking ahead of the game to Cambridge-united.co.uk “they have the winning mentality from last year and are very capable as everyone saw with their victory at Northampton. There lies the danger for us, most teams are capable of winning away and the are another one”.
- Scored 19/25 league goals in second half (9/13) at home
- Netted ten in final 15 minutes of games, joint most in League Two
The hectic festive fixtures start on Saturday and begin the run of five games in 14 days. Calderwood highlighted the need to manage his squad over the Christmas games and stated to Cambridge-united.co.uk “we had an attempt in how to get through this stretch of games. We’ve got to look after the first one and pick a group ready for the weekend. We’ve got to get the right blend”.
George Taft is back after recovering from a calf injury but long term absentees Gary Deegan and Jabo Ibhere still remain out.
Head to Head – Cambridge 19, Draw 14, Leyton Orient 12
Last Meeting – 08/04/2017 – Cambridge 3-0 Leyton Orient
- Cambridge have only lost one of the last eight meetins – W3 D4 L1
- Cambridge are unbeaten in last five games – W2 D3
- The U’s have scored in the past 12 meetings
- Cambridge have only won one of the last five games at home – W1 D2 L2
Prediction – Cambridge 1-1 Leyton Orient