Cambridge United score in almost every game making them one of the toughest opponents to try and keep a clean sheet against in Sky Bet League One.
The U’s have scored 24 goals in 17 matches across all competitions failing to score just twice. Conversely, they have only kept three clean sheets. Veteran players like Wes Hoolahan and Joe Ironside are joined by newcomers such as Jubril Okedina in order to provide some League One familiarity for the U’s in their first year in the third division in more than a decade.
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A player with Premier League experience, attacking midfielder and Irish international Wes Hoolahan signed for Cambridge United in July 2020. Hoolahan was named League Two Player of the Month (January 2021) and named to the EFL League Two Team of the Season as he helped the U’s earn promotion to League One. Following the season, he signed a one-year extension.
Hoolahan began his stellar career with Shelbourne in his home country, eventually arriving in England, first on loan, with Blackpool and then making a permanent signing with the club in 2007. He spent 10 seasons at Norwich City, where he is most notably associated with as a former player, scoring 47 goals in 323 appearances for the Canaries. He later spent a season in Australia playing for Newcastle Jets prior to his arrival at Abbey Stadium.
On the international level, Hoolahan represented the Irish National Team from 2008-17, before announcing his retirement from international football in February 2018. This season, the Dublin native has a team-high four assists to go along with 45 crosses into the box for the U’s, adding four interceptions and four tackles won.
Another player with Australian A-League experience, Jack Iredale plays in defence for Cambridge United, having arrived at Abbey Stadium in August 2020. He came to the U’s after completing a one-year deal with fellow League Two side Carlisle United during the 2019/20 season. Born in Scotland, he moved to Australia at a young age, and began his football career with Perth Glory in 2016. He served stints with ECU Joondalup (Australia) and Greenock Morton (Scotland) and Queen’s Park (Scotland) before arriving to the EFL at Carlisle United. This season, Iredale has registered two assists, as well as a goal in his last match over the weekend against Shrewsbury Town, in addition to a team-high 22 tackles won. He has contributed 16 interceptions, while delivering a team-high matching 57 crosses for the U’s.
Joe Ironside has seen playing time at 11 different teams since signing his first professional contract at Sheffield United in 2012.
The striker graduated through the Blade’s Academy and was a member of the Sheffield United U18s team that lost the 2011 FA Youth Final, but he did score a goal in that contest at Old Trafford. Ironside served loan spells at a number of teams including Harrogate Town and Hartlepool United while with the Blades, until making a move away from the club permanently in 2015 and signing with Alfreton Town.
In 2019/20, Ironside spent a season with the Macclesfield Town and in August 2020, he signed on with Cambridge United, scoring a team second-best 14 goals in his initial season with the club. This year, he is one of the leading scorers in League One with six goals for an average of 0.46 goals per game. He is also one of the most fouled players in the league, drawing 19 so far. He hits the target at 37.5% with 9 of 24 shots on target, adding a 1.85 shots per game ratio to go along with 0.69 shots on target per game.
George Williams has quickly made his impact with Cambridge United after signing with the club on a free transfer from Bristol Rovers in June 2021. The defender from Hillingdon began his youth career at Milton Keynes Dons, eventually signing a professional contract with Worcester City in Conference North in 2013. He was a member of the team that pulled off an incredible upset of League One side Coventry City in an FA Cup tie in November 2014. Williams would later play two years for Barnsley (2014-16), making a loan to Barrow during that span, and later five years with his former youth club MK Dons (2016-21). He played 142 games for Dons until his season with Bristol Rovers. This year with Cambridge United, Williams has scored two goals and provided two assists in 15 matches played. He provides a majority of the deliveries into the box for the U’s, registering a team-high matching 57 crosses. He has also picked up most of the team’s interceptions (18) and won eight tackles.