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Mark Bonner happy to hold the fort as Cambridge United plan for the long-term

Cambridge United interim head coach Mark Bonner
Cambridge United interim head coach Mark Bonner

Mark Bonner is only too willing to carry on steadying the Cambridge United ship as they get their house in order before appointing a new head coach.

The assistant head coach stepped up to take on the main job on an interim basis when Colin Calderwood was sacked after the 4-0 defeat to Salford City.

He oversaw a dramatic 2-1 win over Colchester United in his first game, and was then told that he would be guaranteed to stay looking after the side for the next two games, against Newport County and Scunthorpe United, which led to two more wins.

Owner Paul Barry released a statement on Tuesday night saying that the U's would take their time before making a permanent appointment in order to assess all their options, and although a new person would be put in place this season, no time limit was set for the announcement.

“I don’t see it as a limbo really, it’s just carry on doing your job," said interim head coach Bonner, on having not been given a specific match number in which he would be in charge this time.

“I don’t really see it as anything that creates any uncertainty. I’ve done the job as if I was the manager,, not as if I was just looking after it for a week.

“From the players’ perspective, nothing will change. From my perspective, I will roll on managing the staff, leading the club, serving them in any way that they want me to.

“Things have obviously gone well in the first period of time, but we have to prove that is not a flash in the pan and we have to maintain the standards that we’ve set.

“From my perspective, I’m really enjoying doing it and I will continue doing it while the club works out the best way forward for the longer term."

Bonner reiterated a point that he made when initially stepping in to prepare the team for the Colchester game, outlining how it is a balancing act that has come to be expected in football.

“You should always run your club with the long-term in mind, but also understand that it is also a really short-term industry because it can end with a game or two of a bad run," he said.

“The breathing space that I talk about allows us all to step back and review everything to get the next stage of our football club right, but in the short-term we have to be really focused on preparing the team in the best way we can.

“That doesn’t change and that will always be the case. However long you’re in the role for, there will be an eye on the long-term and the development of your club and your philosophy and identity, but you will always have a game in three or four days’ time that you’ve got to try and win."

Being back at the Abbey Stadium against Bradford City tomorrow (Saturday, February 15), there will be the target of earning a fourth successive victory.

"We’re in a situation where we want to continue the upturn of results but I think what’s really important to focus on as well is there has been an upturn in performance and I think people have recognised that," said Bonner.

“That is the key thing we have to maintain and continue to embed because results will fluctuate, that’s just football, but if people can see a process with the team and an identity beginning to be delivered where they understand what they’re seeing and the work that’s going on, then I think they will give more respect to us.

"They can see a vision and a strategy unrolling. I think that’s as important almost as results in this period of time to show that and that’s what we’ve got to continue working towards.”

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