Mark Bonner and Dimi Mitov faced the media ahead of the U's clash with Ipswich Town on Saturday...
- On a big week for the U’s...
“We have had no games in 13 days and now we are likely to have nine in the next 29 days now! To start this busy period with those games is great, and we are really looking forward to Saturday.
“I think the fact that it's a sell-out is a bit of a sign of the size of the opposition, but also how far we have come as a club. I do not remember too many sell-outs over my last ten years here, excluding FA Cup. I am expecting a really good atmosphere and we have to make sure that brings the best out of us.
“We have really enjoyed playing at home this year, due to the atmosphere and I think with a really full abbey with a sold-out away following brings the best out of our supporters as well, and in turn, hopefully brings the best out in the team.
“Two challenging games that we are really looking forward to getting back with.”
- On facing Ipswich...
“They could put two or three XI’s on the pitch that would be very competitive in this league.
“Obviously the new ownership in the summer has taken them that new level, however with that comes a pressure and expectation, and sometimes it takes a bit of time to get going. They’ve got a very experienced manager in Paul Cook, whose been successful wherever he has been at.
“No doubt last weekend they would have seen Shrewsbury as a winnable game and this is another one [on Saturday] that they will expect to come and win as well, so we have to handle that and make sure we can make it as difficult afternoon for them as we can.
“Paul Cook's teams have always had a fairly consistent way of playing over the years and we need to be ready for it.
“Individually, their player’s have got very good qualities throughout the team, and we have to try and find some areas that we feel we can exploit. We have got to make sure that defensively we are at our best.
“Our responsibility is to be best we can and we have shown so far that we can be competitive in the league. We are to look forward to the challenge of competing against a superpower of this league this weekend!”
- Team News...
“We are hoping Wes [Hoolahan] is fit and available, he had a good impact when he came on at Crewe.
“I think at the end of the day, it is a sell-out crowd at the abbey and is a game that everyone wants to be part of. Obviously not everyone can be part of in terms of starting team but we have got to make sure everybody contributes towards a performance that gives us a chance.
“Conor [Masterson] is fine, he had a bit of a tight hamstring at the time against Crewe so we took him off as a bit of a precaution, but he is absolutely fine and has trained well since. He is ready to go again on Saturday.
“Jack Lankester took a bit of a knock last week in training, so we just need to see how he is on Thursday and Friday as to whether it is fit and available to be selected. He just needs to just needs to get a run of game's rather than training.
“Everyone else is fit and available.”
U’s ‘keeper Dimi Mitov also spoke to the local press this morning. Here is a sample of what he had to say:
- On a busy week ahead...
“It is why we play football! We are all really excited it is going to be amazing game on Saturday and Tuesday. We have had a bit of a taste with some of the home games so far, but Saturday and Tuesday will be next level.
“Our fans have been brilliant. Last season they were not able to watch because of COVID-19 but since they have come to every game home and away, they have been fantastic, and I am not surprised. We are looking forward to seeing them on Saturday!”
- On getting stick from the away fans at the Abbey...
“I love it, honestly! It is what I have missed so much, just the little things like getting stick from the fans it is brilliant and is why football is all about the fans.
- On the U’s start to the season...
“I have loved every single second of it! I think we have had a start to season which is really good and we just want to keep improving every week. I think we are improving after every game; we have shown resilience and that we can score goals and can compete with the better teams in the league and that is what it is all about, we know we are a good team and we are confident in ourselves.
“I think the only difference I am finding in this league is the finishing, it is much better than last season because if you look at some of the goals we have conceded this season, they have been unstoppable - but you have to give credit to the players, there are better players and they can they can do so many better things.
“We have not played all the favourites, like they say, on paper so it is going to be really good test for us this weekend and on Tuesday.”
- On the atmosphere in the dressing room...
“It has been fantastic the last two years, it has been really good place to be, every single person comes to work with a smile on his face and people want to come and work they want to train and you see people after training stay and do extra work in the gym.
“Everybody is happy, we do this stuff together [out of football] which is which is a really good and is very rare to find a team in football that you enjoy being friends with and I am sure when we go separate ways we will still keep in touch.
“We just need to make sure we keep the same momentum in the same energy around the place but honestly, it is brilliant!”
- On the challenge of playing against Ipswich...
“I think they are obviously going to be favourites going in to the game but we are confident underdog, like we always are, everybody write us off but we are really confident going into the game you know like cause like I said we have got the firepower going forward and we can definitely score goals.
“We just have to start the games better, that is the only thing we need to do better and everybody knows it, we are working hard on it.”