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Mark Bonner previews Fleetwood clash

27 January 2022

Mark Bonner sat down with local media prior to Cambridge United’s Sky Bet League One clash with Fleetwood Town on Saturday (29th January)…

On Fleetwood:

“They were tough opposition when we drew with them at home earlier in the season. They certainly have a good record of scoring late goals and coming from behind in games.

“I remember thinking at the time that they were in a position that they wouldn't stay in, but they’ve had some difficult times in the early part of the season.

“They've changed their manager and they've been on a good run in recent weeks. They’ve also recruited well this window, having lost James Hill.

“Fleetwood and ourselves similarly are in a position where we are putting some good young players in the team; they've got a strong Academy that's developing some good players, but also they’ve got some good experienced heads at this level.

“I think they will come into it feeling like they've got some momentum. Obviously, we go into it with the same. We’ll make the long trip up and we look forward to seeing if we can continue our good form.”

On Tuesday’s Papa John’s Trophy penalties defeat:

“It doesn’t count as a defeat; it’s a 90-minute unbeaten game!

“We've gone one step further against Rotherham than we had done in the previous two games. Certainly, it didn't feel like a defeat to the lads. I think the boys knew with the stretch in the squad and the way in which we went about the game.

“We put in a brilliant performance and some of our football played at times was very good. The way in which we defended our box was outstanding as well.

“A lot of the lads used a lot of ice at full time because of the physicality of the game; everyone came out with all kinds of bruises and bashes, but we go on, we will go to teams and give as good as we get.

“I thought it was a good game. I think the way in which we competed shows some of the progress that we're making, and I think we know that the next fortnight, probably, is our most challenging period because of the number of games we have, but we go into it with confidence.”

Team news:

“We’ll have to check on some of the lads who have been out for a longer period. We’ll see how Liam [O’Neil] is over the next couple of days and see where he is.

“Jensen [Weir] hasn't been out yet on the grass this week running so he'll be back into running activities hopefully next week.

“Then we’ve got Wes [Hoolahan], Jack Lankaster, Jack Iredale and Sam [Sherring], all the boys that were missing from Tuesday for suspensions or were cup-tied or anything, they’ll be back in for this weekend.

“So straight away that gives a decent number of players to pick from and to choose from, which allows us to shuffle the pack again. I think we've done that quite well over the last month with just a few players, but everybody's contributed and that will have to be the case over the next fortnight or so.

“Joe [Ironside] tried to battle through his injury against Doncaster, as he always does, but it's a painful one. We'll have to see how the swelling settles and then get all the appropriate help over the next couple of weeks to work out what it is.

“We have confidence here that whatever team we put out will give us a chance in any game.”

On the remaining few days of the window:

“We know that the next couple of weeks will stretch our squad, as we saw on Tuesday. It was perhaps a bit of an anomaly because of the competition and the rules that prevented a couple of boys playing.

“We will be stretched, but that isn't a reason to go and spend large sums of money just to get through a fortnight when the games then thin out and we've got players back.

“We've also got some really good young players that we need to make sure we don't block too many pathways for; if we fill the squad up with three or four players late in the window just to cover ourselves, I don't think that's the right judgement call.

“The board are really supportive. Ben's [Strang] working really hard to find the right options and whether we need to do it or not, and at the moment, as I've said all along, I really like the players that we've got and really like the direction that we're moving in.

“If we can do something that can make ourselves stronger then that's something that we will have a look at over the next few days, but don’t expect anything before Saturday.”

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