Head coach Mark Bonner sat down with local media ahead of his sides final away day of the season…
On facing Sunderland…
“What a finish to the season, playing all these games at once! It’s kept the season alive for us really and given us a real focus going into these big games. It’s certainly one we’re looking forward to.
“I expect there will be some atmosphere at the stadium given Sunderland’s position in the table, so it will be a good experience for us. We need to thrive off the experience, but also show we can use our previous experiences [of playing in front of big crowds] to help us, like we have done in recent weeks.
“We know how hard these games are, and we know how well we have to play. It’s certainly not a given, but it’s certainly one to look forward to.
“They’ve probably been at this level for a lot longer than they wanted to be, but since they’ve changed the manager, they’ve shown a lot of consistency and they’re winning a lot of games late on.
“There’s no doubt they’ve got some unbelievable talent in their squad, and that’s showing now; Saturday’s game will be a pivotal one for them.”
On the U’s end to the season…
“I understand why people would say there’s not a lot to play for, but then there’s no point of having a league table – as in, you’d either be in the playoffs or surviving, so the mid table teams would just be irrelevant – so there’s always things to play for.
“I think if we want to be successful as a club, every time the players put on the shirt, they’ve got to perform and help us win. The mindset to create a winning mentality and have that pride and professionalism in playing for us is something we want to adopt, and I think we’ve done that in the past two years.
“We don’t want to be a soft touch, or an inconsistent team, or an ‘on our day we’re a good side but that doesn’t come around very often’ – in the last two years our day has been quite often and we need to make sure we continue that.”
“Harrison is done for the season, unfortunately. He split his shin and has had some stitches, so he’s off for a couple of weeks waiting for that to heal.
“It’s frustrating because I think he looked at the final two away games and thought, one, he’s earned the right to play in them and two, these are the games that all players want to play in.
“He’s a great example for the others, he waits for his time to come and when he’s not in the team he works like a beast to get back into the team. He’s been such an important part of what we have become.
“We still don’t know the outcome with Sam [Sherring], although he went for a rescan on Tuesday and they were very positive about him returning quicker than initially expected, but again, I don’t expect him to play in the final two games.
“We’re open minded to anything, I’ve always said I like players I know and trust, but he’s in the situation where he’s another club’s player, so he needs to sort out his situation there and we need to decide whether he would be part of our summer plans. I’m sure whatever is next for him, he’ll do well.”