Bonner on Plymouth

Ahead of United's away match at Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday, Mark Bonner spoke to the media about the upcoming clash...

  • On Tuesday’s game…

“In a way it is good to get it as an early fixture and try to get it out of the way. We are actually doing things a bit differently, we are travelling by train tomorrow which changes the day slightly and gives us less time sat down, less time travelling. Hopefully that helps us but you can’t get away from that two consecutive long trips does take its toll.

“We know what a tough game it will be, we went there a couple of seasons ago and had a really tricky game and they have done well in League One over the last couple of years.

“Ryan was got a good side there, they recruited really well in the Summer and they aren’t finished yet with the depth of their squad. I think they will be the first to say they want a little more in, but the starting team and the one or two options they have around it make them a really strong team and we saw that in their performance against Gillingham at the weekend.

“We know we are in for a tough game but we have got to give ourselves the best chance and go and be really competitive.”

  • On Plymouth’s strengths…

“They get 10,000 or 11,000 at home games, they are developing a good way and have got more young players contributing to their squad so you can see what they are trying to build and how they are trying to develop the club.

“I am sure they will want to progress but in a league that is incredibly strong, there will be a lot of teams that are trying to break through that ceiling of being a top seven club.

“They have got some talented players with the ball and they play with a really expansive shape. They have signed well defensively this year with Galloway, Gillespie, Scarr and Wilson - they have really changed the back end of the team.

“From our point of view, it is about how we crack that. It is how we deal with the style that they have got, the size they make the pitch, how well they move the ball and how we deal with their attacking midfield players. We have to make sure we carry a threat against them to make sure they are defending in periods of the game as well.”

  • On a busy schedule to start the season…

“For the first month, six weeks of the season that plays a part. What we do know is that the following two Tuesday’s we have Cup games so they are definite opportunities for those that haven’t played so much in the league games to play. What we will try to do tomorrow is put the strongest team on the pitch for those that are available. We are at a stage of the season where people can do Saturday, Tuesday.

“For now, we have got to put in a real together performance and be as competitive as we can be tomorrow night.”

  • On Saturday’s defeat to Accrington and the strong end to the game…

“The commitment is never really in question for us. We started the game quite well, we had a couple of good chances, they got ahead and they have a front-two who are linked with Championship Clubs for a reason. They are a really strong team at this level and they were a really strong opponent.

“We had a good counter attacking threat and there is no doubt the changes to the team hurt us a bit. If Lloyd would have been available at centre-half that would have helped and if Paul was available in midfield that would have helped.

“We improved as the game went on, we carried our own threat throughout and chased the game really well in the end. Probably across the balance of the play we deserved something from it.

“There is of course encouragement to take but we don’t want to be encouraged too often without taking anything. We are being competitive in the games so far and as we find our feet at this level, that is going to be really important for us.”

  • On the injury status of the squad…

“Jibs [Jubril Okedina] will be missing for a few weeks, he has an appointment with a specialist today so we will see what that is but he has got a problem with his ankle. We will see how Lloyd is this morning, he was looking better at the weekend so touch wood on that one. He will probably be a bit of a late shout but we have got a chance to see if that settles and see if he is available.

“Other than that, everyone else came out of the game fairly well. Harrison took a hefty whack to his ankle so he was hobbling home but he recovers quite well.

“Shilow had a bit of a tight calf last week which saw him train not too much but hopefully that settles and obviously he came on for a short time on Saturday.”

  • On looking to recruit a centre-back…

“We were looking at that anyway. We thought a week or 10 days ago we had one but he ended up going somewhere else. There is certainly an intention to add in that position because we know how light we are in terms of cover. Finding the right ones, and getting someone over the line is not as easy as everyone thinks.

“We have obviously got a few weeks left in the window to activate something and make sure we are covered and competitive in those positions and we will keep working on that.”

  • On Ironside’s start to the season…

“It is no different to what we expected. He is a hungry lad and wants to do well. I think it will do his confidence the world of good to have scored two in two and in the games where we have started with a single striker, his back to goal play has been really important and he has done that well. When we have changed to a front-two, he and Sam [Smith] have done well. Knibbsy [Harvey Knibbs] hasn’t played so much yet but he is getting back up to speed and over the next few weeks, we will see more of those two I am sure.

“Sam has got a big part to play, he can be a goal threat for us and he is having to be patient at the moment, same as Knibbsy, and we have to keep getting the most of our Joey in these few weeks as he has a good start to the season.”

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