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Club News

Bonner on facing Bolton

12 November 2022

Club News

Bonner on facing Bolton

12 November 2022

“There’s a real spirit and belief that we can and will improve…”

Mark Bonner is backing his Cambridge United side to impose themselves at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday afternoon when they do battle against play-off chasing Bolton Wanderers.

When speaking to the press, he stressed the importance of focusing on the bigger picture. Sure, the U’s form and lack of goals of late has been disappointing, but it’s a strenuous, demanding season with a plethora of points still available to catapult the team up the league – and they will fight for every single one.

“There are two leagues in this league – and we’re not in the top one. Our aspiration is to try and finish as high up in our league as possible.

“In the big scheme of things, we’re probably not far away from where we would expect to be at the moment in the league table, but we’re certainly a little bit behind where we’d want to be in terms of form because of the order of the games.

“The worst thing that happened is we’ve played all the best teams back-to-back, and we’re not as good as them, and we shouldn’t expect to be.”

Honest and understanding, Bonner respects the gulf between his group and some of the heavy-hitters of the division. Whilst admitting “we don’t get many wins against the top teams, because they’re the top teams for a reason,” he acknowledges that form can change in a heartbeat, but they must address their misfortunes in front of goal.

“We’ve got to try and become a bit more creative, and we’ve got to be more clinical in the moments that we have, because we have had moments in games.”

The U’s and the Trotters have enjoyed a similar trajectory in the past couple of seasons - gaining promotion from the fourth tier and instantly stabilising with respectable campaigns. In spite of that, the Head Coach feels there’s still a vast level between the two sides, confirming the hosts as underdogs one more – but confident ones at that.

“They (Bolton) are at the level they expect to be at, in terms of competing at the top end of this league, and with a number of teams wanting to show they can get to the level above.

“If you go back 20 years, they’ve probably spent more time in the Premier League and Championship than any other league. We’ve spent more time in the National League and League Two than any other league.

“That in itself just shows the significant difference between the two clubs, and probably the expectations.”

Discussing the depth of his squad, the Head Coach hinted towards the short-term future looks quite threadbare owing to several injuries. With that, however, comes opportunities for others to stake a claim, as well as the prospect of further additions in the next transfer window.

“We know that the 17/18 players that we’re working with at the minute is the squad until January… it’s really had to make the team better in January, but we’ve got the backing and resources to try to add a little bit if we can.

“We want to try and make every unit of the team stronger. That’s a lovely theory, every manager in the league will say the same thing. The reality is whether you can do that or not.”

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