Mark Bonner and Paul Digby sat down to speak to the media ahead of Tuesday's Carabao Cup Round Two tie with Millwall...
The U's manager was first up.
- On Millwall:
“It will certainly be a nice challenge. We have got a good away following to come and watch the game so it will be a good game, and a good opportunity to test ourselves against a team from a higher level than us.
“These are tough games to prepare for, it is hard to get an idea of what a team is going to do but Gary [Rowett] has said about how he wants to win this game and go into the international break after next weekend in a good position. They may make a one or two changes but not huge amounts, and teams at that level, the changes they make are strong ones.
“We know the threat they will carry. They are always a hard-working team and have a lot of power up front, Jed Wallace behind the front two, if he plays will no doubt cause us problems. Gary Rowett sides are always hard to create chances against.
“It is a game we want to be competitive in, but we know, obviously, our priority is the league. With the run of games we are in at the minute, there’s players we will not want to risk but the team we put out will be competitive. We must look at the big picture.”
- On Injuries:
“It is too early for Jack [Lankester] to start; we will see him at some point tomorrow. He has just got to build up that match fitness that will come through tough training sessions and getting minutes where he can – which is obviously harder to do during the season [as opposed to pre-season].
“We are hopeful everyone is alright to go again tomorrow. You must be careful of playing too many games consecutively but where we are at the minute with players available it is needs must for some players. Some boys have played a lot of football recently with the consecutive midweeks so we need to cross our fingers a little and hope we can get through tomorrow and be fine for Bolton.
“Kai [McKenzie-Lyle] jumped into team training last week and Friday was his first full training with the team so he is obviously a little bit behind, he just needs some training time to get up to speed. Once he is back to full fitness he can battle out with Will [Mannion] to see who can push Dimi [Mitov] for the number one position.
“Greg Taylor’s got an appointment with the specialists on Thursday so we will be clearer after that, but we all know it is a long one.
“Jubril [Okedina] will hopefully get back to running at some point this week so we will hopefully have him fit and available in a couple of weeks.”
- On Potentially adding to the squad:
“We have got a few days until the window closes so there is still the option to add to the squad and make sure that we have enough in the positions we need. Conor [Masterson] was encouraging and positive on Saturday so we are hoping that he can strike a partnership with Lloyd Jones.
“Certainly, defence is a position we have to look at. We are quite well covered at left back, and Jubril [Okedina] is great because he can cover centre and right back, but we will see if there is anything we can do in the next couple of weeks, but nothing is going to happen quickly.”
- On Conor Masterson’s debut:
“Lloyd [Jones] and Conor [Masterson] played together with Liverpool’s U23s so they already knew each other – which is quite rare in football; that was helpful. We also packed the back with an experienced back four, two midfields and goalkeeper around him that could help him and make it as comfortable for him as possible. The back four and goalkeeper around him were brilliant.
“Like Tuesday, where we had to be so focused after Taylor’s injury, we had to be the same and we need to continue to do that going forward because we have some big games ahead.”
U's midfielder Paul Digby was up next to speak to the media.
- On Saturday:
“It was a good day, I thought we were fantastic, and we competed really well. We got a little lucky with the goals, but we deserved it. The fans were fantastic, it is great to have them back, they gave us such a boost, just like they did against Oxford - like the 12th man!
“I have not experienced it [fans at the Abbey], it was an amazing feeling and it gave us a massive lift, I do not think teams will enjoy coming here and it is up to us to keep producing performances on the pitch.”
- On Taylor’s absence and captaining the side:
“Tuesday was horrible seeing Greg [Taylor] get injured so he was in all our thoughts ahead of Saturday, he was the motivation before the game. We love him to bits, he is such a big part of the group. Conor came in and trained with us only on Friday and did fantastically – it shows how good he is.
“I am proud to captain the club, I have learnt a lot watching Taylor captain the side over the past year I have been here – so it has been good for me to follow his footsteps.
“I try to communicate and help my team as much as I can, it is part of my game and I want to keep helping going forward. I want to do my best for my teammates and do what I can to help the team win, so obviously communicating is a big part of that."
- On the start of the season:
“We had a good four to start with, they were all very good teams and offered different threats. We have had our own issues, but it shows how good we are as a team that we have dealt with each situation, like Tuesday, to go all the way to Plymouth – we showed so much character to fight and dig deep to come back in that game.
“We are a good team and getting that first win will only help to add to our confidence. Even in the games before, there was good signs as to how we are competing in League One, but of course it is nice to get that first win out the way.
“There is some better players and better quality in certain areas, which you expect. At the end of the day, it is 11 vs 11 on the pitch and we are competing. We have shown in the first few games that we are more than capable of competing at this level."