“It’s not so much about where we are now but more about where we’re going to get to…”
Mark Bonner remains confident that Cambridge United’s current position in the Sky Bet League One table doesn’t equate to doom and gloom, with the Head Coach focusing on the long-term goal of registering enough points on a more consistent basis until the season concludes.
For the first time since returning to the third tier in 2021, the U’s find themselves in the bottom four. However, in a congested part of the table, they know that clocking quick-fire points would soon put them in a healthier position where they would be looking up rather than down.
“I don’t really get wrapped up in the drama of that [being in the relegation zone]. It’s taken 60 something games for us to be in the bottom four in this league when everyone said we’d never get out of it from day one, so it’s a fairly good reflection of where we’ve been.
“At the same time we don’t want to be there, but I don’t think it matters too much now – in 21 games it does. When you look at the bottom eight teams in the league at the moment… it’s so condensed down there that I’m pretty sure over the next six to eight weeks the positions are going to chop and change every single weekend.
“If you start getting obsessed by ‘are we above the line or below the line?’, it’ll drive you crazy. The challenge doesn’t change at all, we’ve got to win more games, get more points and have a target of where we’re aiming for and that’s where we’ve got to get in 21 games time.
“It’s not so much about where we are now but more about where we’re going to get to.”
It was against the Shrews who United last registered a victory against, so having pitted their wits against each other just over three weeks ago, means that preparation has been slightly easier in theory.
“Neither team have changed too much in those weeks, both had similar runs of form actually since and obviously we’ve got them fairly fresh in our mind of what to expect.
“I went to watch their game against Burton [Albion, 0-4 win] on Saturday to see where they were and, other than Killian Phillips from Crystal Palace, they’re pretty much the same as when we played them previously – so that helps because we can remind the players a little bit of that, what went well for us on the day and where we need to do better.
“They’ll be buoyed by their result last week for sure, but we’re well prepared going into the game and looking forward to it so hopefully we can put together a really good performance.”
The boss also stressed the importance of having to bide their time in the transfer market and stick to the quality over quantity approach - they’re working hard to get deals completed prior to the deadline.
“We’re stuck in a situation where we don’t look like doing anything else before the weekend. There’s no lack of effort there at all, it’s just a frustrating process to actually get things done.
“Hopefully early next week we’ll be able to land certainly one, and potentially an extra one on top of that.
“We want to get to the end of the window with the best possible squad we can get. We mustn’t just take the first few players that are available if they’re not quite the right ones or we feel we can do better later in the window.”