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Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris looking forward to challenge of facing Sky Bet League One promotion hopefuls Bolton Wanderers

Head coach Neil Harris has encouraged his Cambridge United players to embrace the ‘big challenge’ of facing Bolton Wanderers tomorrow evening.

The Trotters, who made the eye-catching addition of Aaron Collins from Bristol Rovers in the January transfer window, will arrive at the Cledara Abbey Stadium sitting third in the Sky Bet League One table and firmly in the promotion picture.

But following their 2-1 win at Shrewsbury Town on Saturday, the U’s are also in a ‘great place’ having collected 15 points from Harris’ first nine games in charge.

Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris. Picture: Simon Lankester
Cambridge United head coach Neil Harris. Picture: Simon Lankester

And while the boss is well aware of the threats posed by Ian Evatt’s men, Harris does not want his players to approach the contest with any fear.

He said: “It will be a good challenge. What Ian has done is build over a period of time, over various transfer windows.

“They’ve got themselves out of the mire as a football club and they’ve had to put some hard yards into it, so well done to them for doing it.

“But they’ve been able to build into a club that has just spent a lot of money on a player from our division. They’ve earned the right to do that over a period of time – we understand and respect that.

“They’re a really, really good side. We know there’s a big challenge in front of us but we’re in a great place and we’ve earned the right to enjoy and attack the game.

“We don’t fear the opponent one little bit and we’re really looking forward to a Tuesday night under the lights at the Abbey. The big boys are coming to town and we’re the underdogs, but we’ll go out and play our game.”

Bolton are one of the teams in the division that rarely divert from a three-in-defence system with wing-backs.

In contrast, Harris has so far opted for a flat back four in his time at the United helm, although he would have no concerns about switching things up should it be required.

“You’ll have to wait until tomorrow night to see what we do but we’re certainly not afraid to change. I quite embrace the change at times, it’s good to challenge the players,” he added.

“Bolton are a difficult side to play against in whatever system you play because they’re very good at finding solutions and they’ve got very good players for the level. That’s why I think they’ll get promoted this year.

“They’re a difficult side to press so you have to make sure that you don’t give a lot of space away, so we have to make sure that we’ve got the same resilience and mentality that we’ve had in the last four games and that will set us in good stead.

“But we are playing at home and we do want to cause Bolton problems as well.

“Am I happy to change shape? I’ve got no qualms with changing for any given opponent or staying in a particular shape for a given period of time.”

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