Mark Bonner sat down with local media on Monday morning prior to his side’s Papa John’s Trophy Quarter-Final clash with Rotherham United…
On the season so far:
“I think after the Gillingham (Feb 8th) game, we’ll be into the final 15 games of the season, so we’re trying to get to that block really. Once we’re there we’ll see what position we're in and the number of points that we've got.
“We’ve made a nice start to 2022 with the results that we had, I don't think Saturday was a classic, but it was fairly comfortable, we had little threat on our goal whilst having the best chances in the game.
“The result sets us up nicely for tomorrow, but really it’s a free hit against Rotherham. We’ll see how we can get on and then we’re back to what I think is a really challenging couple of games.”
“Rotherham are really strong and have now got everybody fit and available. Their home form has been brilliant, I think they’ve won eight out of their last nine home games in the last batch of games, despite having a couple of defeats in away games.
“I think we have had two really competitive games against them but been not quite in both games. I watched the football on Sunday and saw Tottenham play Chelsea for the third time in quite quick succession, and then them bemoaning the fact that they've done okay against Chelsea but can't just get over the line against them.
“I’m not comparing us and them in terms of quality, but it’s a similar story to us against Rotherham. So let's see if we can get over the line and do something a little bit different on Tuesday.”
On the Papa John’s Trophy:
“The mindset going into this competition is everything, as we know that the atmosphere in the ground is not going to be there; we know the crowds aren't going to be there and we know that people don't like the competition.
“We like it, I love it! I understand why other people don't, but it's a great opportunity to play. It's often an opportunity for some younger players or players that have been out of the team to play.
“It’s an opportunity to build consistency, we talk about trying to drive through a winning mentality, trying to build consistency. The result against Portsmouth [in the PJT] was one of the main things in building that real good momentum and start to 2022.
“I massively put it down to that game in this competition and the other cup game [Newcastle] as to why we were able to build our current good form.”
“Liam O’Neil missed Saturday’s game due to illness, I'm not sure he will be available for Rotherham, we'll see how he how he is today, but I think he will probably be available more later in the week.
“In terms of the others, it is an easy team to pick because the ones that are fit and available will play.
[On Sherring starting ahead of Okedina on Saturday] It wasn't a hard decision, really. Sam can't play on Tuesday because he’s cup-tied Jubril can so he will play tomorrow. I think we went into the game on Saturday with Jack [Iredale] having a sore knee and Sam [Sherring] playing his third game in a row for a long time.
“Jubril [Okedina] played the previous two games before Saturday at right back, which was physically a lot harder for him.
“I think Dunk’s is having a really good run at the moment, he’s been brilliant. Jack’s [Iredale] given us a nice platform at centre half, he’s played well and bought a real control of the ball for us. Him and Jubril [Okedina] have formed a really good partnership, so it doesn't make you rush to want to change that at the same time.
“We know the attacking qualities Jack can give us as a full back so we want that again as well. We’ve not yet seen Sherring and Okedina as a pairing yet, but I'm sure they could.”