Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner predicts Lincoln City test could be ‘another level up’
Mark Bonner will instruct Cambridge United to attack in an ‘aggressive manner’ against Lincoln City at the Abbey Stadium on Saturday (September 11).
The U's go into the match seven places above their opponents in the table, and on the back of two 1-0 wins at the Abbey.
The Imps were beaten 2-1 by Blackpool in last year's League One play-off final, but have had a tricky start to the new campaign, with three defeats from their first five games.
But United head coach Bonner said: “You look at the team that they’ve got available and the players they’ve got coming back to fitness, they are a really strong side and I think they showed that last year with how well they did.
“There has been a small turnover with players. They had a number of good strong loans last year, and they went back to their parent clubs so they’ve had a re-recruitment summer to change the team slightly.
“Michael (Appleton, the Lincoln manager) has got them playing some really good football. They were a real threat in the league last year and I think they will be again this year.
“Whilst they will look at the first few games and perhaps have wanted a better points return from it, they’ve been competitive and strong in a number of games, and we know what they’re capable of doing.
“From our point of view, I think the one thing so far that the games have taught us is, to be competitive we’ve got to be at our best. We’ve got to see if that is enough to take something from this game.”
Bonner is anticipating that Lincoln will arrive at the Abbey looking to get on the front foot from the off, and the challenge for the U's will be to counter that.
“I think they will come with a purpose to attack, and to try to dominate the ball,” he said.
“I think they will try to get in attacking areas with some players that have started the season very well for them - Anthony Scully, Teddy Bishop, Tom Hopper is back in the team and a really good threat for them as a striker.
“I think they’ve got a lot of threats in their team from an attacking point of view and I think they will try to bring those to the game as much as they can and be as creative as possible.
“There is no doubt they will test our organisation and defending, so we will have to to be good in those situations. But we want to make sure we are a threat as well and we play in an aggressive manner to take the game to them.”
There is no doubt that United will be buoyed in that quest by their past two league games, victories over Burton Albion and Bolton Wanderers, who had already defeated Lincoln.
“Those two wins were excellent for us, two clean sheets in there as well which was encouraging," said Bonner.
“We know how tough this one is going to be this weekend, it might even be another level up.
“We’re going to have to make sure we find our best level, but we go into it off the back of some good results and I think buoyed by what we’ve done so far and excited by the challenges.