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Club News

Mark Bonner previews AFC Wimbledon clash

24 March 2022

Club News

Mark Bonner previews AFC Wimbledon clash

24 March 2022

Ahead of Saturday's trip to AFC Wimbledon, Mark Bonner spoke to the media about all things U's...

On the state of play with eight games to go...

"We need some more points to secure our position for next season but there are probably quite a few teams below us that would love to be in our position. We know that we are five points from the magic number of 50 and it might not even take that this year looking at the numbers around teams.

"At the same time, we don't want to get drawn into that is what it's all about. It is about finishing the season strongly and competing against some top teams and showing the same sort of desire and mentality that we showed last week. If we hit the level we found against MK Dons, we will win games at this level. We have done it in the past and we will do it again.

"We want to try and attack them [the final eight games] the best we can. We know the number of points we need to take to firstly, secure our place in the league and to secondly, try to climb the table and see how high we can finish.

"The game this weekend is one that is really important for us and them. We are going to have to be at our very best to win the game at a team that has found winning difficult in recent weeks, but have got some talented players and will be buoyed by a sell-out crowd and a really good atmosphere in what is a new ground for us to go and play in."

On facing a fighting Wimbledon...

"You can look at any run and see it as one game closer to finishing. At some point runs change and we have to make sure we are a good enough side that it doesn't change on us this weekend. There will certainly be a tension and nervousness inside the stadium because of the form that they are on and we have to be ready for a fast start.

"They are one of the highest pressing teams in the league and we know they will come out with a real energy. We know what to expect - a team, manager, club and fans fighting for survival in the league. 

"That is what we expect to play against and we have to make sure we match that energy, intensity and competitiveness - like last week against MK Dons - to make sure we are in the game first and have some quality to go and win it.

"We know we are capable of competing against anybody on our given day. We will need to be psychologically prepared for a fairly lively atmopshere and for a hard running team that will be hard to beat and give everything to win the game. We need to make sure we are the same."

On the keys to victory...

"We have to avoid being pressed, we have got to play the game in their half and make sure we match their energy and intensity. We have to find passes around their press, we have got to press them and stop them from getting the ball to their attacking players that can cause us problems. Between the penalty boxes those things will be very important in this game.

"Obviously we are going to have to defend our box properly becuase they are a team that can create chances and to make sure we area really clinical in our decision making and execution to make the most of our own, because I have no doubt that we can create if we show up and do what we are supposed to."

On the latest injury news...

"Liam had a dead calf on Saturday and hasn't been out with us earlier in the week. He is in with Mikey now and we will see how he shapes up but hopefully we can get him out on the grass today or tomorrow. Everybody else is good to go, hopefully refreshed and recharged.

"Shilow has been training this week, Jack Iredale joined the group this week and is training with us for the next couple of days and other than that, everyone else is good.

"It's very unlikely [that we will see Jensen back]. We haven't got complete confirmation of that but we are running out of time now for that to happen. He obviously did really well for us so it's a shame but the injury is one that they want to look after at their end. His rehab is taking place with Brighton so the timescale now makes it really difficult.

"Greg is still indoors in the gym at the moment working away and he will be out doing bits and pieces but there is no need for us to rush him. We have got Lloyd, Jibs and Sam Sherring fit so there is no need to force game time into him when he isn't ready for that at the moment. It is a significant injury that he has overcome and we just have to look after him."

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