A place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup is at stake when Cambridge United visit Rodney Parade on Sunday. Only a point separates the teams in League 2, with this game being just the second meeting between the two sides in this competition.
Here, you can find all the facts and statistics ahead of this Emirates FA Cup Second Round tie.
Last six league matches
No team in England’s top four divisions can boast a better clean sheet record than Cambridge United, who have kept 10 clean sheets already in Sky Bet League 2.
Four of those shutouts have come during their previous six league matches, in which time the side have amassed nine points, following two wins, three draws and a defeat.
A victory starts that run, although not a clean sheet, as they triumphed 2-1 at home to Chesterfield in a come from behind victory. Kristian Dennis had given the Spireites the lead in Cambridge, only for Jevani Brown and Uche Ikpeazu to turn the game on it’s head.
Two goalless draws then follow. The first came at Grimsby Town, while Accrington were also held at the Cambs Glass Stadium.
In their next game, however, The U’s suffered somewhat of a humbling at Luton Town. The Hatters scored a few contenders for goal of the season during the game at Kenilworth Road, eventually winning 7-0.
Another goalless draw followed just four days later, this time at Cheltenham Town, before they scored for the first time in five League 2 matches in a 1-0 victory over Stevenage. Ikpeazu scored with two minutes to go to settle the contest.
All this means before the cup break, Cambridge rose to 13th place in the League 2 table. That sees them just a point and four places behind the Exiles.
How they got to the Second Round
Cambridge United booked their place in the Second Round of the competition for the fifth successive season with a 1-0 victory over National League outfit Sutton United.
They didn’t make it look easy, however, as George Maris was dismissed for them on 40 minutes.
Jabo Ibehre made sure they did get through at the Cambs Glass Stadium despite the red card, scoring in first-half additional time to ensure Sutton wouldn’t have as exciting an FA Cup run as last season.
The U’s are still a few rounds off their best ever run in the competition – which sees them go as far as the quarter-finals.
They made it that far in back-to-back seasons under club legend John Beck, losing 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace in 1989/90. They went out 2-1 to Arsenal at Highbury the following year.
Cambridge have a few injury concerns ahead of our encounter.
Remarkably, midfielder Gary Deegan played the previous three games with a broken foot, only to finally diagnose the injury and as such will not be available at Rodney Parade.
Ade Azeez is another player facing a fight to be ready for the game. The striker was initially thought to be out for the season with knee ligament damage, only to make a remarkable return to the U23s on Wednesday.
And Liam O’Neil is also a doubt. The defender suffered concussion in the Cheltenham game 10 days ago and is unlikely to be available in any capacity.
O’Neil was one of two changes manager Shaun Derry made for the Stevenage match, as Jabo Ibehre recovered from his own injury troubles for the game.
Cambridge team vs Stevenage (4-4-2): Forde, Halliday, Taylor, Legge, Carroll, Mingoia, Lewis, Elito, Dunk, Ibehre, Ikpeazu
One to watch – Uche Ikpeazu
Ikpeazu holds the statistic for most match-winning goals in the Football League so far this season, having netted the deciding goal on four occasions already this season.
That sees his winners coming against Stevenage, Coventry, Colchester and Chesterfield in four of his eight goals thus far this campaign.
He has also found the net against Yeovil, Bristol Rovers and a double against Forest Green – as Ikpeazu has already matched his tally for the previous campaign after just 22 appearances.
His first goal for Cambridge actually came against County, in what is really his first permanent club.
The 22-year old started out in the academy set-up at Reading. He was the top scorer in the country for youth players in 2013, choosing to join the Watford set-up without making a first-team appearance with the Royals.
But he couldn’t make the first-team there either, completing six loans over his three-year contract at Vicarage Road. That saw him at Crewe on three occasions, Doncaster Rovers, Port Vale and Blackpool - all in League 1.
The striker could only amass 12 goals across all of these loan spells, however, so moved to Cambridge in search of more regular football.
And it seems to be paying off, as Ikpeazu looks to have formed a lethal partnership with Jabo Ibehre, who has five goals since joining the club from Carlisle over the summer.
Manager – Shaun Derry
Shaun Derry has been in charge of the club since 12th November 2015 following the dismissal of previous manager Richard Money.
That means Derry has overseen 112 games so far at the Cambs Glass Stadium and has a current win rate of 41.1% That means he has won 46 of his previous matches, while he has suffered defeat on 41 occasions with 25 draws.
Those statistics include Derry managing against County four times whilst with the Cambridgeshire outfit and has a 100% record against the Exiles.
It is his second managerial position to date, having also been in the dugout at Notts County, the club he started his playing career with.
He led the side to safety in his first season when they looked destined for relegation from League 1, winning six of the last nine fixtures to ensure their survival.
But Derry couldn’t lead them to a better season in the following year and was dismissed just 18 months after taking the job.
Before turning to management, the 39-year old had a highly successful playing career, making 649 appearances over a 20-year career.
Queens Park Rangers is likely to be the club he is most renowned for playing at, one of two chances he had to play in the Premier League, having done the same with Crystal Palace.
He cost a combined £1.5 million from his several transfers, as Derry won two trophies whilst playing for English clubs throughout the entirety of his career.
QPR won the Championship title in the 2010/11 season, while Crystal Palace secured their own promotion in 2004.
This game will be just the 31st meeting between the two teams.
Cambridge currently hold the superior record in the head-to-head standings, with 14 previous victories. The Exiles have won nine meetings of their own, while there has been a further seven draws.
Interestingly, the first meeting between the two sides came in the only other occasion that they met in the FA Cup.
It came way back in 1953, with Cambridge eventually winning the replay 2-1 in South Wales on 25th November, following a 2-2 draw four days earlier.
You have to wait nearly 18 years to find the first County victory over Cambridge, that coming in a 2-0 home win on 12th March 1971.
The sides have met on 12 occasions since County’s reformation, with six of those coming in the Conference and six in League 2.
The Exiles had a pretty good record in the non-league against the U’s, after two wins, three draws and a defeat - including a 6-2 victory in the promotion season of 2013 at Rodney Parade.
But after both sides made it to League 2, it is almost a role reversal. Cambridge are currently unbeaten against the Exiles in the fourth tier, with five wins and a draw.
That includes winning both meetings last season, despite County scoring first in the two games.
Rhys Healey gave the Exiles the lead at Rodney Parade, although Uche Ikpeazu and Luke Berry turned the game on it’s head for what was at the time their first victory of the season.
In the most recent meeting, the U’s won 3-2 on 18th February 2017. Ryan Bird had put the Exiles two goals up, only for the comeback to be completed by a Mark Roberts penalty in the third minute of additional time.
Referee: Kevin Johnson
Assistant Referee 1: Craig Taylor
Assistant Referee 2: Marvyn Amphlett
Fourth Official: Robert Desmond
Johnson is currently embarking on just his fourth season as a Football League referee having officiated in the National League for many years prior to his promotion.
Remarkably, he has given out eight red cards already this season, including three in the game between Crawley and Carlisle – whilst another two came in the Cheltenham vs Maidstone match in the First Round of this competition.
Those dismissals come during the 20 games in which he has officiated this season, the last of which was on Tuesday in the CheckaTrade Trophy tie between Exeter and Chelsea U23s.
No cards were given out on that occasion – keeping his tally at 64 yellow cards and eight red cards from the 20 matches.
That follows on from his record in the 2016/17 season which reads as 100 yellow cards and four red cards from 30 matches.
Johnson has refereed County on nine previous occasions. And the Exiles have had relative success in those games – after winning four, drawing three and losing the other two.
His first game came way back in the 2010/11 season. County beat Mansfield 1-0 on that occasion, despite having Paul Bignot dismissed.
The following season also saw a red card for County. In fact, both Gary Warren and Ismail Yakubu were given their marching orders in the 3-1 home defeat to Kidderminster Harriers.
In the promotion season of 2012/13, Johnson officiated County three times. This time AFC Telford received two red cards in the first game of that season, as County secured a 4-2 away victory.
The other two games came at Rodney Parade, starting with the 2-2 draw with Tamworth. Six yellows cards were brandished in that match although none were given in the 2-0 victory over Alfreton.
The remaining games come in the Football League. In 2014/15, County drew both games, beginning with the 1-1 draw with Burton Albion. Andy Sandell was booked against the Brewers as Mark Byrne was given a yellow during the 2-2 draw with Hartlepool.
Two final games came last season. Four yellow cards were given in the 2-0 defeat to Stevenage at Rodney Parade, while his last game came in the 3-1 victory over Hartlepool.
If the sides draw?
In the eventuality of a draw the replay will take place on Tuesday 12th December at 7.45pm. Ticket information will be communicated as soon as possible.
Can’t make the match?
You can follow along on social media using @NCAFCLive on Twitter, or via the Club’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.
As the game is a cup match, no live showing of this fixture will occur on iFollow Exiles. However, commentary by Charlie Brown and Richard Shepherd can be found at the Match Centre.