Ahead of United's home clash against Burton Albion on Saturday, Mark Bonner spoke to the media...
- On Greg Taylor’s injury...
“It is as bad as we thought it might be to begin with, so it will be a fairly significant amount of time that he will be out for. Which, fundamentally, is bad for the team, losing the captain and leader, who is so important to what we achieved last season. We send him our best.
“Until we get the final real details, we do not want to speculate and go into too many details on time scales and type of injury – but we do know it will be a long-term injury.
“I am just disappointed for him after playing the part he did getting us here, and like the rest of us has been really enjoying the challenge of this season and for him to miss a large period of that is a real shame, but his time will come again.
“He knows inside out what we are and for me personally, since I have taken the job, he has been class. He will still be able to have an influence from less of a playing role, while he is out, but it will add a little more responsibility to other players – we are not worried about that though, the player really stepped up when they needed to on Tuesday.”
- On finding a replacement...
“We need to get the most out of the players that we have got but we also need to add to a position that we are already light in. We are working hard to try to add something for the weekend.
“Jack Iredale was outstanding when he played there [centre back] on Tuesday. We know we can shuffle the pack and can get the best out of players if we need to but we are working hard to try and be as strong as we can be. Paul Digby, Jack Iredale and even George Williams are all options to play there.
“We have got such a good, organised team so that people can go into different positions and look like they know what they are doing, which is really encouraging. One of the most pleasing parts on Tuesday was the way we adjusted to the injury. It really built the team spirit.”
- On other injuries...
“It is fairly positive on Jubril [Okedina], there was not further intervention needed on a medical side or surgery, he is working with the physios, and he will be back on the grass at different times next week. He is probably two or three weeks away but obviously the sooner he can get back, the better.
“Jack Lankester is training today, he is available to be around the team again but obviously he had missed around 20 weeks, so through training and building up match minutes where we can over the next couple of months, we will try to get him up to speed. He is not too far from being able to contribute to the team
“Leon [Davies] is back in light training but he obviously had a hip operation on both sides, we are not rushing him back. He is making good progress.
“Other than that, no other injury worries.”
- On Saturday’s game...
“Since Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink has come in, they have been exceptional. They have recruited a lot of players in the summer and have had a brilliant start. They will certainly be coming to the Abbey really confident, trying to maintain the excellent start they’ve had.
“The last time we played Burton was a really big result for us. We responded brilliantly [after going 2-0 down early on] and was a really hard-fought result but they are a very much changed team from then – so are we.
“It is not a year where you can look at the fixture list and go “where’s the easy games?”, there simply is not any. The games are going to be a huge challenge and we are going to have to be at our best as often as we can. It is really encouraging that we have played three good teams and been very competitive in all of them. At the moment we are loving it, we are enjoying the challenge!
“We are looking forward to getting back to the Abbey, it has been a long week on the road and we hope that the atmosphere will be as good as it was against Oxford.
“We got back yesterday evening, the players have had the day off today and we will get to work tomorrow. Hopefully we will be fresh and to give a real energetic performance on Saturday.”
- On the challenge of League One...
“We are enjoying it. It’s early days so it is hard to evaluate anything at the moment, we are finding our feet.
“One thing that is for certain is that clubs have very defined styles and ways of playing, so as a coach and a team it really tests you when you are analysing oppositions to come up with game plans – probably more so than last season.
“We are really enjoying it though; it probably coincides with fans being back in grounds again and there is a real buzz around that. It just felt normal again so hopefully that can continue as it brings a much more challenging, real and almost emotional experience – it is what it is all about!”
- On getting that first win...
“The obsession over getting the first win will grow the longer it takes, but we have played three games and we are on the same about of points as some massive clubs so we can not be doing too badly. Let’s see where we are in 10 to 12 games.
“We have just got to keep improving, there is already been parts of our game that are getting better game by game and when we play with the work ethic, spirit and togetherness as we did on Tuesday, we know that is worth points and that is what we are going to have to keep doing."
- On Joe Ironside...
“He said he missed the original penalty so that it could count as an open play goal! He has made a nice start this season, and he is a really important player and character within the squad.”