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Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner delighted with January business and gives update on George Thomas ahead of Ipswich Town clash

Mark Bonner believes his five January transfer window recruits have made his Cambridge United squad 'a heck of a lot stronger' as they look to ensure their survival in Sky Bet League One.

The U’s head coach boosted his midfield options on Tuesday's transfer deadline day by adding George Thomas from Queen's Park Rangers.

It followed on from the signings of Steve Seddon, Ryan Bennett, Michael Morrison and Conor McGrandles.

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester
Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester

And ahead of the visit of third-placed Ipswich Town on Saturday (3pm), he believes it has been a great window of recruitment as his side look to break out of the relegation zone with a positive run of results.

Speaking at today's pre-match press conference, he said: "I was very adamant from the start of this window that I wanted to sign players that have got some calibre and experience and personality to our group.

"I don't remember many better windows where we're signed players of such experience at this level, more experience than what we've got and at a level that is quite exciting.

"We are absolutely delighted with the five that we have added because with them joining the returning players from injury and the current players that are here it makes the squad look a heck of a lot stronger.

"And it really helps the lads that have been here all season.

"It gives us a nice strong group to go and attack the final part of the year."

But U's fans will have to wait to get their first sight of the club's latest recruit in action.

"He's just coming though the back end of a hamstring injury," Bonner confirmed.

"We obviously found out fairly late on the Tuesday when he came here that he wasn't as far along as we hoped so we're going to be waiting a couple of weeks to see him."

Of where he sees the 25-year-old three-times Wales-capped player who came through the ranks at Coventry City before joining Leicester City fitting in, he said: "George is an attacking midfield player. He has played everywhere over the last few years but we can see him as a central midfield player for us, having similar type of qualities to Conor McGrandles.

"Obviously he gives us flexibility as he can play in other areas but to add more creativity to the pitch is important for us certainly from a deeper position so we're really pleased with that and we think he can chip in with a goal or two as well.

"We're delighted to get him and look forward to working with him in the next few weeks when he's fully fit."

Meanwhile, he is expecting another tough test against Ipswich in what will be the third time they have played them this season.

Having lost 3-0 at Portman Road in the reverse fixture in early October, with all the goals coming inside the final 18 minutes, the U's beat a much changed side who had already qualified 1-0 at home in the final group game of the Papa John’s Trophy later that month.

"We know the size of that challenge," he said on Saturday's league fixture.

"I think every manager will say the same things about them and the strengths of their team and the strengths of their window.

"I think they have added well and spent well and used the resources that they have got.

"I watched them against Morecambe (4-0 home win) last week and I saw an angry team that looked really determined to get back (in the automatic promotion places) and they are chasing something and that can be dangerous for us as an opponent.

"But it might also give us some opportunities as well.

"So we have to try and find the formula. We have played them twice already this year and we have done okay in parts of those games.

"We have got to try and put another performance on the board from last week (0-0 draw at Lincoln City) and see if it can be a really competitive match for them.

"But I also want to make sure the things we do well, we do well and try and make it an uncomfortable game for them, and make sure we carry a threat in the game.

"We want to try to take a little step forward and see if we can build on last week because it is a big challenge but I probably say that every week now.

"Whilst we have to be absolutely mindful of their strengths and the way in which they play we have to make sure we focus a real energy in our own performance and what problems we can cause them as well."

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