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Mark Bonner on Forest Green test

2 December 2022

“We want to improve on where we are, but there’s 27 games to go – that’s a lot of points to play for.”

Mark Bonner remains confident that his Cambridge United side can diminish their recent run of form and start registering the points again as they prepare to take on Forest Green Rovers at the Bolt New Lawn.

In what’s been a testing couple of months for the U’s, where they’ve won just two of their last 13 games in all competitions, full focus can now be firmly on climbing up the league table and not having to look over their shoulders.

Newcomers Forest Green are rooted to the foot of the division, but are just six points behind United, which makes for a very decisive afternoon in Nailsworth. Determined, the Head Coach plans on leaving with no fewer than three points.

“Both teams will be fighting for a victory, certainly with where we are at the moment. It’s the 20th game of the season so a good one to have a bit of a marker. We’ll certainly go all-out to try and get a point-scoring game but we want to go there and win the game.

“When you’re in it, we’ve got to play better, score more goals, get more results and turn losses into draws, that’s the reality. When you step out of it, you can say four points from the last four league games , this is the last game in a black of five that, if it went really well, we’d be in a strong position.

“If the best thing could happen at the weekend and we win the game, we’d find ourselves on the same number of points after 20 games as we were last season.

“In terms of the big picture and where we need to be, we’re not too far behind in terms of points, but certainly performances we know we’ve got to put together that consistency.”

What’s been important in the past couple of weeks is the additional hours out on the training pitch to really get back to basics – Bonner hopes that extra work will come into fruition.

“The last few weeks has allowed us to do work training-wise, we got to see the benefit of some of that last weekend, but not the final part – we’ve tried to work on that a little bit this week. We’ll see if we can get to a point this weekend where all of it comes together.

“We’re pretty much Saturday-Saturday for the rest of the season now, which is a complete shift change from the first half of the season, which gives us a chance to train, recharge and get some real competition in the squad – I think we’ll really benefit from that.”

After mentioning that sticky patches frustrates himself and his group more than anyone, the Head Coach admitted that: “The sunny uplands that we’ve had over the last couple of years, there’s always going to be a storm somewhere along the way. What we’ve done brilliantly is we’ve stopped runs from building, we haven’t done that in this period, but at the same time we haven’t got a squad now which isn’t competitive, which can’t do it, we’ve just got to find that rhythm in our game again.

“We know exactly where we want to get to, we think we know where we are and what the next steps are, so the job now is to knuckle down and turn in a few results in the short term. We know we’re capable of that.”

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