Bonner and Digby on AFC Wimbledon

Head Coach Mark Bonner and midfielder Paul Digby spoke to local media this morning ahead of the U’s clash with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday…

Mark Bonner was first to face the media.

On AFC Wimbledon:

“Mark Robinson has been at the club a long time and understands the inside of the football club as well as the culture of the club. They have got a real spirit about them in the way in which they play, similar to ourselves, and have got a real resilience and work ethic.

“They have had some excellent results this season and have got some real threats in the team that we will need to be aware of. I think it builds itself to be a really good game. We have had some good battles with them over the years and I am looking forward to this one at the weekend.”

Team news:

“Some of the boys have given us some tough decisions to make because there were some really good performances on Tuesday. It gives us some variety and some options which is what you want.

“Paul Digby comes back in following his one game ban which is helpful for us; Wes Hoolahan is available and Joey's [Ironside] obviously fresher having not started on Tuesday.

“We are looking forward to working now over next couple of days properly ready to go against a young, athletic and hungry team in Wimbledon, as well as a match up with a coach in Mark [Robinson] that I played against a number of times in the youth team.”

On bringing in an emergency loan goalkeeper:

“It was something that we always had in our minds should we have needed it [bringing in an emergency goalkeeper]. The challenge for Kai [McKenzie-Lyle] and Will [Mannion] is to keep developing and improving – which is no doubt difficult to do when you have a long time between your games because you don't have that game exposure.

“It was a tough one for Kai to come into last weekend, to go into that sort of firing line when you have not played league games and therefore it is a really tough one for him [to be dropped], but also for him to understand that we just wanted a little bit experience, and Tomáš Holý’s someone who has played in goal 150 times at this level.

“If Dimi [Mitov] continues at the rate he is and ticks off every box, then he will be ok to play next Tuesday, but we need to see where he is later in the week.”

Paul Digby was next up to speak to the local press.

On missing Tuesday’s game:

“Yeah, it is never nice when you are not playing and cannot help the team. I got nervous watching it, but I still watched the game and I thought we did really well for large parts of it.

“Obviously it has taken an absolute worldy strike to get them a point, but I thought considering we had a much-changed team and a lot and key people missing, I think it just shows what great character we have got that we can come together like we did.

“It is never nice to be suspended so I am just looking forward to getting back in with the team to help them get a result on Saturday now.”

On AFC Wimbledon:

“Another really good challenge, but a challenge that we can win as well. Wimbledon are a very good team, very young, energetic, and enthusiastic. They have got a really good press on them and some really good players in there as well, so we have got to be at our absolute best.

“The Abbey might not be as packed out as it has been in the previous two games, but I hope it is bouncing and the atmosphere is just as good as it is a has been because it's been fantastic to play in.

“As players we have to be professional about it, play the game and make sure that we all do our jobs properly on the day to get the win.”

On the season so far:

“I have loved it so far! It has been a completely different challenge obviously, but we worked so hard last year to get promoted for this challenge and so far we are enjoying the challenge and thriving on it. We now just need to start turning a few of these draws into wins and I think that is the next aim for us as a team.”