Luke Hannant feels the messages drilled into the team about dealing with the unexpected and rising to adversity during the early stages of 2020/21, are a “big factor” in where United find themselves in Sky Bet League Two.

Mark Bonner’s coaching to block external distractions and handle the challenges of a pandemic, are what the U’s energetic midfielder identifies as the driving force behind the exciting start to the campaign which currently sees the U’s sat second in the division.

“A big factor that Bonz (Mark Bonner) has got into us, is not letting the surroundings get involved in our performances,” he said.

“We’ve dealt with it all really well, because he’s mentioned it to us a few times about not let the things going on around the world at the minute affect our performances.

“We have done that from the start of the season, and have concentrated on ourselves to make sure we both keep create chances the way we are through our forward threats, and maintain our defending because we haven’t conceded many goals.

“Having the mentality to create your own enthusiasm, your own environment, your own noise around the ground, with there being no fans in is important. With the group of players and staff we’ve got here, the mentality we’ve created so far is paying off.

“That’s something we have to keep doing into the future now, and whatever the circumstances may hold moving forward, we just know we concentrate on ourselves to let our football do the talking.

Hannant reflects positively on his own personal contribution to the team thus far, having scored four and assisted four times already, and is hungry to keep building in whatever position Mark Bonner requests him to play.

“I feel I’ve started the season well and it’s been steady with my goals and assists, and I like to think I’m contributing towards our forward attack. It helps to have people like Joey (Ironside) and Paul (Mullin) which makes my job a lot easier, our forward threat in general is good this season.

“We’re creating a lot more chances than last year, even in games where we haven’t had a lot of possession, I still feel we’re going to create a lot chances in the game to get the all-important goal-scoring opportunity.”

“The strength of our squad is that it feels like we have players that can come in, when we pick up injuries, and make the same impact that the team needs in games.

“I think Bonz sees one of my strengths, I’m a player that can play in a variety of different positions when the team needs it. I finished in the number ten position on Tuesday, just behind Joe. That’s a position I feel comfortable playing, but wherever I am on the pitch I’ll always give a 100%.

“I’ll always look to run myself into the ground and that I can contribute where I play.”

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