Brian Caffarey
12:00am, Thu 13th Mar 2008
3pm on Saturday 15 March 2008

This trip to the Abbey Stadium on Saturday will be a tough test of the Cards? resolve. The U?s have looked like play-off contenders from the very start of the season and will be determined not to slip up now that the prize is so nearly in their grasp. United have a particularly fine home record, having suffered only one league defeat so far. We?ll have to be at the very top of our form to get anything out of this encounter.


Frank Gray will be hoping that his side can produce a better league performance than those we have seen recently, when, playing against lowly-placed teams, we have picked up only one point out of twelve.

Tom Hutchinson will be missing as a result of his red card last Saturday. Matt Ruby or Paul Lorraine can be expected to deputise.


Jimmy Quinn?s main task in the summer was to find a strike force to replace last season?s top scorer Robbie Simpson, transferred to Coventry City, for an initial compensation payment of ?40,000 and a sell-on provision of only 5%.

Quinn brought in Lee Boylan, a familiar figure from his time at Canvey Island and Grays Athletic; Scott Rendell from Crawley Town, who had previously appeared for Forest Green Rovers and Aldershot Town in the Conference; and the much-travelled Leo Fortune-West, who parted company with Rushden and Diamonds. Quinn also drafted in two new keepers: Danny Potter, formerly with Canvey Island and Stevenage Borough, and Luke McShane, a reserve keeper from Peterborough United. Other new faces included Mark Convery, a midfielder surprisingly released by York City; Mark Albrighton, central defender, part of the exodus from Boston United; Gavin Hoyte, another central defender, signed from Bedford Town; and Stephen Reed, formerly with Torquay and Yeovil and who failed to impress in a loan spell at Kingfield the season before last. 17 year-old youth team winger, Robbie Wilmott, was also added to the first team squad.

Subsequent changes have seen the departures of Scott Rendell (who demanded a transfer after the U?s had turned down six-figure bids for him and who has now gone on loan to Peterborough with a view to a permanent move) and Leo Fortune-West (who went on loan to York City).

Three arrivals up front have been Mark Beesley from Forest Green Rovers; Lee McEvilly, a familiar figure from his time at Accrington Stanley, who, having re-joined Stanley from Rochdale, has joined the U?s on loan; and Magno Vieira, who has just joined on loan from Crawley Town and whom we?ve seen previously in the Conference with Carlisle. Midfielder Ben Farrell has arrived from Bedford Town. Quinn has been handed a new contract till June 2010 and has been busy signing up players on new deals, including highly-rated 19 year-old defender Michael Morrison, Dan Gleeson, Lee Boylan and Danny Potter.


The U?s had a superb start to the season, remaining undefeated till the end of September. Their home record is particularly impressive, reading 12 wins, 5 draws and only 1 defeat (1-0 against Exeter City at the end of January). The U?s had a good run in the FA Cup, eventually going out 2-1 away to Wolves. In the FA Trophy they lost 2-0 away to Histon and lost 1-0 at home to Rushden and Diamonds in the Setanta Shield. Last Saturday the U?s had a disappointing result at Farsley Celtic, suffering a 2-1 defeat.


This is United?s third season in the Conference. In the 2005/06 season we had a superb 2-0 away win when Craig McAllister slotted home after a great flick over his head and sprint by Steve Ferguson and then Karl Murray doubled the lead with one of his specialist free-kicks. But it was a different story back at Kingfield when we lost 1-0. We produced two of our weakest performances against the U?s last season, losing 1-0 at home in December and going down 3-0 away the following month. This season we met the U?s in our fourth game of the season. They arrived at Kingfield on the back of three straight wins, whilst the Cards had achieved two draws and one win. Ross Worner found himself making his debut after Nick Gindre was clattered by Fortune-West in the 21st minute and Jerome Maledon also made his Kingfield debut in a hard-earned 0-0 draw.

We?ve met three times in the FA Cup. In the 1988-89 season the U?s beat us 4-1 in the First Round and then defeated us 3-1 the following year in the Second Round. However, in the 1996-7 season we secured a brilliant 2-0 away win in the Second Round, outplaying our League hosts and going through with goals from Robin Taylor and Clive Walker.


Abbey Stadium
Newmarket Road

Tel: 01223 566500
Website: www.cambridge-united.premiumtv.co.uk

By coach ? why not take it easy and go on the Supporters? Club coach? Leaves Kingfield at 11.00am. ?15 for members. ?19 for non-members. Ring the Club Shop to book your place.

By car ? leave the M11 at J11 (s/p Cambridge A1309, Harston A10). Turn right at the roundabout (s/p Cambridge A1309). Go straight on, at three sets of traffic lights, for 1.5 miles, then right at the next set of lights (s/p Ring Road) into Long Road. Go straight on at the next set of lights (s/p Ring Road) into Queen Edith?s Way. Follow ?ring road? signs at the next five roundabouts into Newmarket Road. The ground is on the left after about half a mile.

By train ? there are frequent services from Kings Cross (generally quicker) and Liverpool Street. The shortest journey time is about 45 minutes (e.g. the 12.15 from KX gets in at 13.01). You can get a Citibus C3 service or taxi from the station or walk for about 25/30 minutes to the ground. Walk away from the station along Station Road and take the first road on the right (Tenison Road). Take the first road again on the right (Devonshire Road), follow this round to the left, to the next junction. Turn right, again, into Mill Road. Walk over the railway bridge, then take the third road on the left (Sedgewick Street). Follow this road, pass a set of traffic-calming barriers and shops ? at this point you are in Cromwell Road ? to a T junction, Coldham?s Lane. Ahead of you should be a large field (Coldham?s Common). Go into this field and follow a path under the railway bridge to the away turnstiles.

Come on, you Cards!

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