A hectic but ultimately successful festive period saw City cement second place in League Two as well as advancing yet further in the EFL Trophy with a last gasp winner against Ipswich. City’s recent form has earned Matt Taylor and Randell Williams nominations in the monthly awards – the latter possibly timely as he remains a target for club higher up the pyramid entering the January transfer window. Elsewhere the treatment room remains pretty full, added to this is the 3-match suspension for Nigel Atangana following his red card at Forest Green, which means the side is almost beginning to pick itself ahead of a fourth meeting of the campaign with Cambridge. Another injury casualty is Lewis Ward, back on the bench in recent games he was due to start against Ipswich but pulled out shortly before kick off. Matt Taylor has expressed his desire to recruit a left-sided player with injuries to Jack Sparkes, Craig Woodman and Dean Moxey, while Nicky Ajose continued his return with the opener against Ipswich.
It has been rather a stop-start season for Cambridge in Colin Caldwerwood’s first full season in charge, and the Us head into Saturday’s match firmly in mid-table but with only three wins since the beginning of November. Calderwood’s side does appear to be capable of strong results – as evidenced in the reverse of this fixture back in October, and others such as a 4-0 win away at Mansfield. Much revolves around Sam Smith up front – top scorer with eight in all competitions. Reggie Lambe managed to get sent off on his return from suspension from a previous red card and will therefore miss the trip, while George Maris – so often catching the eye against City – will expect to start despite being in and out of the side this season.
That reverse fixture in October saw City arrive in positive mood only to go away with tail firmly between legs after goals from Hannant, Roles, Taft and Dallas gave the hosts a 4-0 win. The sides were then thrown together in the FA Cup – this time City were leading 1-0 through Alex Fisher’s first goal for the club before Smith scored a late equaliser – Johnny Maxted not looking back on the equaliser fondly (as with the late equaliser in the 2nd round). However, unlike against Hartlepool in the 2nd round City were able to get past Cambridge in the replay, Fisher again on target with the only goal. 1-0 to City was also the score when Cambridge last visited the Park in the league last January, Nicky Law doing what he does best in scoring a late winner. Cambridge retain the edge in league head to heads with 24 wins to City’s 20, 11 matches finishing level. The last 48 games between the two sides can be found at https://www.grecians.co.uk/wordpress/?p=9355
Referee: James Oldham
Assistant Referees: Simon Shaw and Mark Derrien
Fourth Official : Justin Amey
This will be James Oldham’s first game in charge of Exeter.