Attacking options could be in short supply for Cambridge United's home clash with Newport County
Ade Azeez may be the lone striker available for selection
Cambridge United could be without their two frontline strikers for the visit of Newport County in Sky Bet League Two tomorrow.
Uche Ikpeazu was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the 2-0 defeat at Port Vale last weekend and is therefore banned for one game, while Jabo Ibehre went off carrying a knock in the same match.
And Ade Azeez is still in the early stages of his return to the first team after a knee injury.
“I’m disappointed the big man [Ikpeazu] is out. I said after the game last week that I was disappointed with the red card,” said U’s head coach Shaun Derry.
“But he is out and he has to pay that consequence, and ultimately we will miss him. He is a capable player for us, and done well in parts of this season.
“The key for Jabo is that he’s not trained all week. It’s like that broken record, I’m sick and tired of playing it, it’s a song that I don’t like at this moment in time. Forward options have been at a premium for us for a long time.
“No Uche, another centre forward that has not even trained this week and another centre forward who is probably still two or three weeks behind schedule with his comeback in Ade Azeez.
“That just highlights the problems we’ve got at this moment in time and ultimately they are the options that I want to try to change and bring in that different type of option for us in January.”
But Derry is keen to stress the character of the current group – which also remains without Gary Deegan and David Amoo – and was full of praise for their qualities.
“We’ve got a great, honest bunch of players,” he said. “They have been brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
“They are absolutely focused, they are all together.
“We’re looking forward to this fixture and playing at home at the recently renamed Abbey and we’re hopeful just that in itself can generate an atmosphere that can really get the players going.”
One thing in United’s favour, though, will be that they know all about tomorrow’s visitors.
They were beaten 2-0 by the side from south Wales in the FA Cup, second round on December 3.
“The good thing about playing Newport as closely as we have done is that we know their style of play, we know their personnel,” said Derry.
“We’ve kept tabs on the two games they’ve played after they’ve played against us, and we know they’re going to come to the Abbey in a confident mood because they beat us two weeks ago.
“We’re angry at that loss, we didn’t want to go out in round two, of course not.
“But this is a league game, it’s a different challenge for us. As it’s a league game, where every loss, every win, every draw you always analyse it afterwards and you try to improve; and we’ve done that as a coaching team.”