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The 23-year-old returns to the Kassam Stadium for the first time since his final game for Oxford United, a 1-0 defeat to Southend United on Boxing Day 2018.
Smith only managed three U’s goals in 23 matches during his loan spell from Reading, but he is enjoying comfortably the best season of his career.
Karl Robinson: Joey Beauchamp can be source of motivation tomorrow
The forward has found the net 15 times for Cambridge, scoring in each of his last three games, and Robinson is wary of what he can do.
United’s head coach said: “Sam Smith’s a real threat at the top end of the pitch, he’s come of age which is great for him.
“He’s a really nice young man, it unfortunately never worked here for him – I think it was a little bit too soon.
“He’ll be looking to perform and show people what he can do.”
Smith has already scored twice against United this season, his quickfire double helping Cambridge to a 4-1 win in the Papa John’s Trophy.
Tomorrow’s visitors have exceeded expectations since winning promotion last May and sit 12th in Sky Bet League One.
Meanwhile, the U’s are fourth and could have James Henry and Marcus Browne available again, with the latter yet to make an appearance since arriving in January.
Read also: Elliott Moore doubtful for Oxford United’s clash with Cambridge
But Robinson is ready for a tough afternoon regardless – particularly after only beating bottom side Crewe Alexandra 1-0 in midweek.
“We know they’re going to bring the energy and we have to be ready for every eventuality,” he added.
“We haven’t underestimated anybody, you saw what Crewe did on Tuesday.
“We know the second we do that our talent isn’t enough on its own.
“It’s supported by a work ethic and a togetherness that makes us a little bit special.
United could be bolstered by the return of James Henry and Marcus Browne. Henry scored on his return in a friendly against QPR in midweek while Browne has trained all week and stands by for his first appearance since signing for the club permanently in January.
Both may need to be patient though with the U’s having won their last two games with an unchanged side. Elliot Moore limped off during the win at Crewe and is a doubt but Ciaran Brown came on as a replacement and scored the winner in that game.
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See Karl and Mark Sykes previewing the game in iFollow plus we have a special Preview Show in which former Oxford/Cambridge captain Paul Wanless gives us his best XI.
First Team Coach Barry Corr says his side face one of their “biggest challenges” of the season on Saturday
“They’re such a good side. I think Oxford away is probably one of the biggest challenges in the league,” the former Southend striker said. “It’s really exciting to go there and see how we get on. It’s definitely a really tough task, but one we’re really excited about. They’ve been such a good side in this division for a while now, with really good players and a really good manager. It’s exciting for us, and a really good challenge.