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Cambridge United expecting to play on the counter attack against Sky Bet League One leaders Plymouth Argyle

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner has outlined two particular facets of his side’s game that could prove crucial in picking up a positive result from Saturday’s home clash against Sky Bet League One leaders Plymouth Argyle.

The U's head into the encounter on a run of disappointing recent results against the likes of Curzon Ashton, Grimsby Town and Forest Green Rovers – all fixtures in which they have dominated large periods of possession but found it tough to break down the opposition.

With this weekend’s visitors riding high Bonner is expecting that to change and so he is keen for his players to adopt an effective counter-attacking approach, as well as looking for ways to free up centre-forward Joe Ironside to allow him to have a greater impact on proceedings.

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester
Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Picture: Simon Lankester

Bonner said: “The only difference really is it will probably look a different game to what the others have.

“We’ve had a lot of games recently where we’ve had the lion’s share of possession or very, very even in terms of that side of the game.

“We play against a really top team, a possession-dominant team, so it may have a bit more of a counter-attacking element to it as opposed to a more in-possession game.

“We have to be ready for that, prepare ourselves for that and it might suit us a little bit more.

“But at the same time as that there will be plenty of moments in the game where we have got the ball and I think we’ve got to find a balance in our game of how we build attacks, how we create chances.

“A lot of our game is built around finding the front of the team and building around Joey. In recent weeks we’re trying to build a little more so there is less bodies in and around him from the opposition so we can get him the ball in a cleaner situation because when teams put three or four bodies around him it’s not easy for him.

“We’ve got to find a bit more variety in our attacking play in order to be a creative team in the attacking half of the pitch and give him more chances and service with the ball. And we’ve got to recognise this weekend when are our moments to build and when are our moments to break on the opposition because the game will probably provide us with both of those challenges.”

Bonner has been impressed with the start to the season Argyle have made, particularly after the disappointment of the previous campaign when they just missed out on a place in the play-offs.

He added: “They were certainly in a really good place when Ryan (Lowe, former boss) moved to Preston and Steven (Schumacher, current boss) stayed, took on the job and has continued and developed that really good work.

“Last season was a very, very successful season for them and huge credit for the form and sitting top of the table with the results and consistency they’ve had up against teams that have got far greater resources than they have.

“And the way last season ended for them could have been a real dagger going into this season but they’ve recovered brilliantly and taken things on to another level.

“They’re certainly in an outstanding position in the league that they’d have taken after 20 games and for them now they’ll be looking to sustain that and continue the great start to the season they’ve had.

“We’re looking forward to it. We had two really good games with them last year and we think we have a good idea of how they play and how they go about the game.

“We’ve got to find a way of competing with them and giving ourselves a chance of taking something from the game. We took good points off them last year and we’ve got to try to do the same on Saturday.”

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