“Our job is to give supporters a team that they want to watch - a team that can really hit a high level...”
Head Coach Mark Bonner believes the Emirates FA Cup can provide the perfect tonic for Cambridge United to rediscover their league form.
The U’s take on Grimsby Town in the Second Round of the competition on Saturday and will hope to avoid defeat against the League Two Mariners, who have already dispatched Plymouth Argyle in convincing fashion.
Although United were made to fight over 210 battling, goalless minutes against Curzon Ashton, the most important conclusion is they’re still fighting and eager to make an appearance in the Third Round for consecutive seasons.
“Obviously the FA Cup’s a brilliant competition to be in, so we’re certainly excited for the potential that could lie ahead in the competition.
“We certainly are desperate to get in the hat for the next round, because it can bring you your best days of your career. The amount of people that have said to me that’s (Newcastle) their best ever day as a Cambridge fan, they’re the moments you want to create.”
In order to secure another potential plum tie, the hosts need to navigate their way past a defensive-minded Town side who, after already dumping the top-ranked team out of the cup, have little fear.
“They have a very good away record, a very good defensive record as well, and I thought the result and performance against Plymouth (5-1) was outstanding.
“They’re a very hard running team, a real high pressing team, will get the ball into forward areas and make you defend your box, and can counter-attack well.”
As a fan himself, Bonner understands the frustration from the terraces of late.
“If I watched a game of football I don’t like and I’ve paid to watch and I wanted to be entertained, I’d probably boo it as well.
“That is the way it goes. You take the plaudits when you win games and sometimes you get told you were brilliant when, actually, you weren’t very good, but you won.
“I’ve got no problem with that (frustration) whatsoever, as long as people divert their abuse to me, I’m fine with that, just leave the players alone because they need a little bit of help and support at the minute – they’re having a tough time.”
In the league, United have struggled in-front of goal on home soil recently and whilst chances have certainly been created in that time, the Head Coach is convinced the dry patch will soon be cancelled out.
“We’re just in a spell where we’re going through some tough little periods but the good times will be back because they always are. A bad spell won’t last as long as it feels when you’re in it.
“It will turn at some point, I’m absolutely convinced of it. The players that were scoring goals or creating chances, being at the level we want to, they haven’t gone anywhere. They’re just hibernating a little bit at the moment and it’s my job to get it out of them and find a level of consistency.”