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Bonner: "We know we’ve got a strong squad"

16 September 2022

“If we can find the level we know we’re capable of, we’ll give ourselves a chance…”

Despite going into the weekend on the back of an “uncharacteristic” performance, Mark Bonner remains glued to the task of ensuring the U’s make an instant return to winning ways against Barnsley.

“We’ve played eight games, played well in large parts of seven, but that (Tuesday) isn’t one that we can say we did. The key for us now is to get back to a level that is more reflective of us. It’s one we’ve moved on from pretty quickly.

“We’ll try to get ourselves back on track on the weekend… you roll on and try and get on with it, we know we’ve got a strong squad, we’ve got good options as to what we do with the team. There’s a lot of decisions to make over the next 48 hours.”

What couldn’t go unnoticed was United’s impeccable home run, the joint-best in the division, in comparison to their results on the road, which happens to be the joint-worst. In spite of that, the Head Coach simply affirmed these things happen in football and it’s certainly something which doesn’t cause panic stations in the camp.

“As soon as we get a win away from home, it stops being a thing. 60 minutes at Portsmouth we were outstanding, Oxford we were outstanding and lost in the last kick of the game, so you can call it what you want. There’s plenty of time to change that and, in the end, it’s not something I’m concerned about at the minute.”

Respectful of the Tykes, Mark highlighted several strengths in the visitors’ group. After regarding them as “the toughest opponent at the Abbey so far,” he was under no illusions that the U’s can’t make things difficult for themselves otherwise they could be punished.

“They’ve had some excellent results against some of the top teams, but they’re a good side, they’re very strong. In terms of the power of their team, they’ve got some good experience and some really good young players, forwards who can cause you a problem.

“Michael Duff’s record, and the type of teams he creates, make them a very hard team to play against. They don’t give up too many chances. It’s as tough as it comes really, but we want to try and continue the form and performance levels we’ve got to.”

In what is an extremely similar upward trajectory to their managerial careers so far, where both Duff and Bonner took their former and current sides from League Two mediocrity to promotion winners before establishing themselves in this division, the boss further stated what the hosts will be wary of.

“There’s a level up in the depth and quality of squad for him. They’ve got some good creative, attacking players, but they’ll make us defend and Michael’s teams are organised and hard to beat so it’ll be a difficult afternoon.

“But if we can find the level we know we’re capable of, we’ll give ourselves a chance.”

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