Cambridge United continued preparations for their headline FA Cup tie with Manchester United by thumping in-form League Two rivals Newport County 4-0 on Saturday.
Louis van Gaal’s stars will head to the Abbey Stadium on Friday to face a side full of confidence after a dominant display on home turf.
Cameron McGeehan struck twice on his Cambridge debut, having joined on loan from Norwich City in the week, either side of a Sulley Kaikai effort.
Liam Hughes rounded off the win 15 minutes later, reacting fastest to seeing his shot come back off the post as Richard Money’s men moved up to 12th in the table, while Newport fall out of the automatic promotion places to fifth.
Shrewsbury Town take Newport’s place in third after an Andy Mangan-inspired 3-0 win over bottom club Hartlepool United, who are now nine points from safety after Tranmere Rovers and Carlisle United beat Accrington Stanley and AFC Wimbledon respectively.
Top two Wycombe Wanderers and Burton Albion had to come from behind to draw 1-1 away to Bury and Portsmouth respectively, while Luton Town joined Shrewsbury Town in making moves on the leading pair with a 1-0 win at Plymouth Argyle.
Exeter City and Stevenage picked up victories over Mansfield Town and York City to move into the play-off picture and leave their opponents in a group of five teams between 19th and 23rd separated by just a point.
Southend United edged a five-goal thriller at Oxford United 3-2 despite having Gary Deegan sent off after the half-hour to cement sixth place, while Northampton Town moved away from the frantic relegation scrap with a 1-0 win over Dagenham and Redbridge, who are mired firmly within it.
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