“We want to end Saturday in a really strong position in terms of points… at that point, we might pat ourselves on the back…”
Mark Bonner is expecting a dangerous test against Lincoln City on Saturday afternoon, but is equally excited by the prospect of adding points to the Sky Bet League One tally.
What already puts them in good stead is the home advantage they’ve picked up so far - attaining a 100% start at the Abbey Stadium. If the U’s can grab the victories more often than not in CB5 and pick up the points here and there on the road, they’ll accumulate an admirable amount come May.
“If you can maintain your home form, it can always be strong for you. That’s something we want to try to do. We want to fight for that, but we’ve also got to play for that. We’ve got to be good enough to do that.”
On the test Lincoln pose, the Head Coach, who was full of praise for the Imps in last season’s clashes, remained wary.
“We play a team this weekend that have had some good performances and results away from home. They’ve got quite good continuity in players, they’ve added quite well and I’m pretty certain they’ll have a new addition today. What we can see is they’ve got a way, a style and scored some goals.
“Every team in this league have got good players and those good players, in any moment, can hurt you. We need to be really mindful of that. It’s a different manager (Mark Kennedy) and a different setup, but at the same time they’ve got players available who have started the season well and we need to be ready for that.”
Understandably, back-to-back successes for the first time in the league this season is the sole aim. Bonner stresses the importance of separating the 46 games into smaller blocks, examining the points output and building from there to ensure levels of consistency.
“It’ll be a really tough game, but we want to maintain the start we’ve made. As I’ve said a number of times, we want to get to the 10-game marker and see what platform of points we’re building from.
“We’re doing ok, but league positions are irrelevant at the moment – we’re not getting too wrapped up in that. Points and performances are important - if we can get a positive result on Saturday, that sets us up nicely.”
Thanks to additional minutes in the tank in midweek, United go into the weekend in an excellent position. The aim of a fully-fit squad creeps closer.
“I think I’ve got 24 players to pick from, so we’re in a really good position. We want to go into the week building up to Ipswich with everybody fit, at that point we might pat ourselves on the back for the first month of the season.”
Something that couldn’t be avoided was transfer talks as the clock ticked down on deadline day. Shutting down the possibility of a hectic day, Bonner said: “There’s nothing going to be happening at this end I’m afraid. No real drama at our training ground today.” From here, he stated that even if they were to receive a mouth-watering bid, the U’s would not welcome it.
Taking a moment to reflect on the window United have had, the boss cut a satisfied figure. Importantly, the key business was retaining the core of the squad, as well as highlighting contract situations. It’s a box they can now put a big tick on.
“We’re pleased with what we’ve ended up with. I think we’ve seen throughout the first couple of months of the season a nice balance in the squad and fairly good options.
“The players are in a good position in the fact that lots of them are in the last year of their contracts. Keeping them here will be really difficult, because they know their earning potential elsewhere. We’ll do the best we can to try and keep them.”