City manager Michael Appleton believes the busy fixture schedule in the early part of 2022 provides an opportunity for his side.
The Imps have recorded back-to-back wins to kickstart the New Year, scoring five and conceding just once. Cambridge also arrive in strong form – having beaten Newcastle and Portsmouth this week in the FA Cup and Papa John’s Trophy respectively.
He said: “With the amount of games we have got left, this busy period is a massive opportunity. If we can put ourselves into the position to do so, we have a real opportunity to try and kick on and climb the league. We’ve got some really tough games coming up, but the confidence in the group at the minute after the past two results is pretty good.
"Cambridge will be delighted with the way things have gone for them recently, progressing in both cup competitions. Mark Bonner is doing a great job and they will come here being very tough to beat. If we’re going to get three points, we’re going to need some sort of performance that we’ve seen in the past two games.
“All of my language around how we’ve approached training and preparation since Tuesday night is to make sure the mindset is correct. If anything, this game is more important because it is at home. The reality is we are still where we are and until I feel like we can start looking upwards rather than atwhat’s behind us, that will be our mentality.”
A season of injuries was compounded this week with confirmation Lewis Montsma will not be able to play again this season due to the knee injury suffered against Oxford.
Appleton said: “It’s a big blow, he was in such a good place and playing really well. The one thing I would say is that he is a strong minded individual, he has had an ACL injury before on his other leg so he knows what it’s like to be out for a period time. He has got the mentality to come back from this type of injury, and I have no doubt that this will be the case this time around.
“We will give him the support, from a physical and mental point of view, as much as we possibly can. In someone like myself he’s got a manager who has been there and done it in terms of injuries, so I can try and help him through that period.”