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Mark Bonner Previews Crewe Clash

20 January 2022

Mark Bonner sat down with local media on Thursday morning to preview the U's clash with Crewe on Saturday (22nd Jan)...

On the U18’s FA Youth Cup success on Wednesday:

“Certainly, anytime a Category Three academy comes up against a Category One academy, the odds are stacked against the former. It was a brilliant night for everybody! I am so pleased for Tom Pell, Jimmy Unwin and all the players.

“I know first-hand how much work goes into working with those players every day and preparing them. The youngsters don't get loads of opportunities to play on a big stage in front of people, but they delivered on all accounts and were brilliant.

“The result sets us up for Nottingham Forest at home in the next round. That ‘cup fever’ is taking hold of us this year as a club! Huge credit to them and thanks to everyone that turned out, I think over 900 people there and hopefully we can get over 1,000 people supporting the team next round.”

On Crewe Alexandra:

“We weren’t getting points at the beginning of December time when playing against a lot of the top sides, but performances were excellent and we were really scrapping and fighting to be in games, much like what Crewe have been doing this season.

“I don't think any team is going to disappear, we saw that on Tuesday with Doncaster, scrapping and fighting. They're [Crewe] not getting the points return that some of their performances have deserved recently.

“They have a lot of good players and are a good to watch. I’ve watched Crewe now quite a bit, I went to Portman Road just before Christmas, they fell to a narrow defeat, but they were really competitive in the game.

“They’ve recently had a big win against Charlton and did well then as well as picking up a solid point against Shrewsbury last weekend. They've got some good points recently and have clawed back really what was a little bit of a gap.

“What they do as a club, developing players and selling them on; they've lost some really key players in the squad and then have had to start a new cycle with quite a lot of younger players integrating into the first team.”

On four straight wins:

“I’ve spoken to quite a few people across different leagues this week about one or two different things, and one of the things that you certainly understand is, unless you are a top team at the top of the league that is expected to win every game, when you're around the bottom end or middle of the table, anytime you can put consecutive wins together it can make a significant difference.

“So all of a sudden two wins on the row created a cushion to the bottom four for us, now nine points. That can obviously change within two games. Of course, our intentions this weekend are to continue the run, but I'm pretty sure Crewe will want to remain unbeaten and have got their own things to fight for, so it will be a good game.”

Team news:

“Joe [Ironside] has got everything strapped up at minute! We'll see how he is this morning.

“One or two of the lads are getting a bit weary really. We’ve played quite a few games now in a short period of time after having a couple of weeks of no games. We’re hoping that the ones that are a little bit bruised can recover.

“We've got a few knocks from the other night, so we have to just catch up with a few up and see how they are. We’re hoping that George Williams is okay, he’ll hopefully be in today.

“We’re waiting on a scan from Jensen [Weir] so we can check on that. We are hopeful that that's quite good. He's made good progress in the last couple of days but we just want peace of mind on that.”

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