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Cambridge United striker Sam Smith backed to continue improving by head coach Mark Bonner





Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner believes that there is still plenty more to come from Sam Smith.

The striker, who had a loan spell with the U's during the 2019/20 season prior to joining permanently just more than 12 months ago, was the club's leading scorer last term with 21 goals in all competitions.

And he has also started the current campaign in fine form, topping United's goal chart with four so far, including a hat-trick in the 4-3 victory over Burton Albion a fortnight ago.

Sam Smith has scored four goals so far this season. Picture: Ben Phillips
Sam Smith has scored four goals so far this season. Picture: Ben Phillips

However, after making his 100th United appearance during last weekend's 2-0 home win against Lincoln City, Bonner has challenged the Manchester-born frontman to take his game to an even higher level.

“Without blowing our own trumpet he's (Smith) followed the same pattern as nearly every player we've got,” said Bonner, who was speaking prior to Saturday's trip to Ipswich Town being postponed. “Everyone that has come here in the last two and a half years has got better, which is testament to them and the environment the players create and the work that the coaching staff have done with them.

“The team and the dynamic that they work in just allows them to get better. Improving is a massive part of what we want to be. We want our players to develop, we want the team to develop and we want the club to develop.

Mark Bonner believes there are more levels for Sam Smith to find. Picture: Simon Lankester
Mark Bonner believes there are more levels for Sam Smith to find. Picture: Simon Lankester

“That's good at the moment, but you should never take it for granted because it's not easy to get there. My job is always to keep pushing the bar and we've got to do more because I think we've scratched the surface in lots of ways.

“Sam is a player who has certainly had his best run in first-team football since he's been here, his best goalscoring season since he's been here and he's a talented player that's got better.

“But he's young and there's loads more he can do. He's much better now than when he came here on loan, but I think he's nowhere near finished and our job is to encourage him that this is the case and make him understand what it will take to get to the next little bit.

“Hopefully he continues buying in because there is loads more to come from him yet.”

Smith's form throughout August saw him nominated for the club's Love Cambridge Player of the Month accolade alongside the Sky Bet League One Player of the Month and the PFA Vertu Motors Fans’ Player of the Month awards.



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