Mark Bonner is hopeful his side can continue their strong form against higher ranked sides this season, with League One Gillingham the visitors to the Abbey Stadium in Papa John’s Trophy action.
The U’s have already successfully beaten Birmingham City, Burton Albion and Peterborough United (on penalties) in cup action this season, and Bonner wants to see United bring the same level of competitiveness to tonight’s round of 32 encounter.
He said: “We played Gillingham in pre-season so we have a small idea about them, albeit they’ve changed a little bit since then as well. Whatever team they put out, they’ll be strong side. They have some excellent loans from Premier League clubs and some very experienced players at our level in amongst their squad too.
“You always know what you’re going to get from a Steve Evans and Paul Raynor team, so we’ll have to be ultra-competitive, a level that will allow us to compete with them, to give us the best chance of progressing.
“We’re quite looking forward to the game actually, we’ve done well when we’ve challenged ourselves against teams from higher divisions this year. We need to make sure we are as competitive again as we have been in those previous games.”
Bonner is eager for his side to use the fixture to work back in the good habits and elements of the early season performances, which he admits had dropped off slightly in the previous two League encounters.
United’s Head Coach said: “We want to get back to some of fundamental things that have made us a good side so far this season, that we’ve lacked a little bit in the last week.
“That’s in terms of our intensity and competitiveness in games. We want to get back that pressing intensity and try to be a little bit harder to create a chance against.
“So we know we’ll be in for a tough game, but we have to focus ourselves down to our own level of performance.”