Cambridge United boss Mark Bonner ‘believes’ in his players to upset unbeaten Portsmouth in clash at the Abbey Stadium
Cambridge United boss Mark Bonner believes his players have the capabilities to upset Portsmouth’s unbeaten start to the season as they visit the Abbey Stadium tonight (7.45pm).
Pompey arrive in Cambridge having won nine and drawn four of their opening 13 games at the start of their League One campaign and the U’s have not collected three points in a game since their 1-0 win at home to Reading at the start of September.
Despite the poor run of form the U’s find themselves in, Bonner has faith that his squad can get the job done in a game that he admitted his side are not expected to get a result from.
“When you don’t play so well or pick up points in a couple of games, everyone thinks that you’re never going to win another game again. Well, that just isn’t true is it? We know we will do but we’ve got to find the level of performance that gives us a better chance of doing that,” said Bonner.
“It’s a tough test but it’s one we’ve got to take on with a good energy about us. It’s a good job I’m an optimist because I totally believe in the players that they can do that.
“They’re going to lose that unbeaten run at some point and it’s up to us to be the team that does that.”
Last time out, Cambridge were beaten on the road 1-0 at bottom of the table Cheltenham Town thanks to an early strike from the host’s Liam Sercombe after five minutes.
This was the hosts first win of the season and meant the U’s registered their sixth of the campaign so far, which leaves them in 18th place heading into their midweek test.
“In the last three league games, our performances haven’t been at the same level as our best performances this year. Many of our performances prior to that were quite good and fairly strong and in the run of only one win in that period of time - we should have beaten Port Vale, should have had a real turning point penalty at Barnsley and we should have beaten Shrewsbury,” said Bonner.
“Sometimes we need to play on emotion to make sure the performances aren’t flat and that we stand up when things get tough. Fighting the right way and being ready to outwork opposition and do what we do best.
“The games are really close and there’s not been a lot in them at all. There’s not so many teams that we’re going to blow away in this league, but we do expect better than the last couple of games – in terms of our level – because we’ve shown in the early part of the season that we can do that.”
A positive for Bonner is that no new injuries were picked up in Saturday’s defeat at Cheltenham.
“Confidence is a strange thing, it can disappear quite quickly, but we’ve got to get over it and get on with it and deliver a performance against the top team in the league so far,” said Bonner.
“They’re just top of everything really. Defensively very strong, scoring goals, scoring off set plays, highest crossing team in the league. In the end, they’re unbeaten at the start of the season which is an incredible run.
“It will probably look a bit different to the previous games where everyone expects us to get a result, probably no one gives us a cat in hells chance in this one but it’s up to us to prove that wrong.”