U’s Head Coach Mark Bonner and striker Joe Ironside both faced the media on Thursday morning prior to Cambridge United's Sky Bet League One clash with Charlton Athletic…
Mark Bonner was first to sit down with the media.
“The Abbey Stadium gets windy from three o'clock on a Saturday until five most weekends, so we have become quite accustomed to playing in those conditions. I think we are in that period now where you are going to get scruffy games. The ball was only in play 23 minutes in the first half.
“We had to make sure when you go to Cheltenham that you defend your box well and I think throughout the day for the whole game, we did that really well.
“We knew Cheltenham would come out the blocks fast, they conceded four at Wimbledon at the weekend in the cup which was out of character for them. We knew that we were going to have to be fairly solid from the start and once we found our way in the game in the first half, we had the best chances.
“The fact that we scored the second goal quite quickly, it sort of put them to bed, and we ran away with the game from that point. So we were delighted with in how the game went and how we turned a really close, scruffy game into a really comfortable one, which was probably not something we saw coming at half time and that is certainly a credit to the boys.”
“Shilow’s [Tracey] injury is not a great one. He left in a boot on Tuesday and will have a scan today, so we will just wait to see how it is.
“There was a little bit swelling in there. It was a bad tackle on him and his ankle turned underneath him. It is frustrating as it was great to have him back in the team and back around having built up over the last seven days.
“He is an important player for us, so that was the one downside to the Tuesday’s game but we will see how that how that turns out and we know everybody else is up to speed and ready to contribute if we need them.
“We are hoping that Lloyd [Jones] is not too far away, but we can't really tell too much at the moment. He is in and out with the physios and the specialists so we will see how that settles down in the next few days. However, I do not expect to be counting on him for any of these games over Christmas.”
“Their form since Johnnie Jackson's taken over has been exceptional, but is unsurprising. You look at the squad and the experience in depth they have; they should not be mid table, let alone near the bottom end of the table.
“The expectation there is obvious, 25,000 supporters will certainly be expecting to come and see Charlton beat Cambridge at the weekend, but little Cambridge want to turn up and see if they can do something and will be buoyed by 1,500 fans that will love being there”
“I hope those on HMS Ironside get there safely and enjoy their day out!
“At the end of the day we want to try and be competitive and we enjoy these games because it is another example of how far we have come. We want to show that we can go toe-to-toe with the top teams and there is no doubt Charlton are one of them.”
On the U’s 18’s FA Youth Cup success on Tuesday night:
“I very much enjoyed watching them on Tuesday! It was a really open game, with lots of chances both ways, but the boys did well and held their nerve again taking some excellent penalties.
“They can now look forward to home tie against Leeds United in the next round, so fantastic for the players themselves and delighted for Jimmy [Unwin], Tom [Pell] and all the staff because I know first-hand the amount of work and that goes into that job.”
Striker Joe Ironside was next up to face the local press.
On Tuesday night:
“We went there disciplined, and we worked hard, and we came away with a great result. So yeah, it was a really pleasing night. Obviously, it was really nice to get my hat-trick, that is my first hat-trick here, so a nice night all round I would say!
“Obviously we went into half time in a good position being one-up, so we needed to continue to play well in the second half and I think we scored at the right times and then we ran away with it really, it was a great three points against a tough Cheltenham side.”
On taking his tally up to 11 goals in League One:
“I am happy with my goal return at the minute, I think I have got 11 now, so yeah I will always keep carrying on and scoring goals and doing what is best for the team.
“We have adjusted well to the step up a division and we have got a lot of good results this year. There is still lots for us to learn, but I think we have done well. We all want to continue to work hard to get better.
“It is a little different not playing with Paul [Mullin] as we are not really playing with two out and out strikers, so that has been an adjustment I have had to get used to, but I like leading the line and everyone else is chipping in with goals too.”
On the fans:
“Our fans have been absolutely brilliant this year and it is a credit to them coming out and supporting us all over the country week in week out. There has been a lot of memorable games already and I am sure that there is going to be more this season.
“It is good to have the fans back and long mat that continue to be the case. The Abbey has been class this season, it has been bouncing. It really drives us on as a team. We really love playing at home, so it has been brilliant this season.”
Ironside’s favourite goal this season?
“Portsmouth away. I enjoyed that game! Obviously, it was at Fratton Park in front of 16\17,000 fans I think. The goal I scored was in front of our fans and we came away with three points that day so yeah I enjoyed that day!”