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Cambridge United defender Liam Bennett reflects on arrival of Neil Harris after picking up Love Cambridge Player of the Month award

While the U’s league form in November cast a shadow over the Abbey, which saw Mark Bonner relieved of his duties, a shining light in a tough time for the club was the performances of Liam Bennett.

The 22-year-old has laid down a marker and made the right-back spot his own this season, starting 19 of United’s 20 league matches and has been voted by the fans as November’s Love Cambridge Player of the Month.

Cambridge United's Liam Bennett – seen with some of the new Christmas lights in the CB1 area – is the Player of the Month for November 2023. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge United's Liam Bennett – seen with some of the new Christmas lights in the CB1 area – is the Player of the Month for November 2023. Picture: Keith Heppell

Bennett described November as “a tough month” and said: “Obviously all of us as players have huge respect for Mark and he’s done wonders for the club.

“He’s left the place in a lot better of a place than he found it and that’s all you can do when you go into a job.

“We’re obviously gutted that we couldn’t take him further and do our best for him. But obviously, that’s football at the end of the day and we just have to move on and look forward to learning from Neil now.”

The Neil Harris revolution got under way in dramatic fashion on Saturday, as two late goals from Gassan Ahadme saw the U’s come from 2-0 down to claim a well-earned point at Charlton Athletic.

In the ex-Millwall and Cardiff City boss’ first press conference, Harris repeated how much he wanted his side to be feared by their opponents and the U’s number two reinforced his head coach’s rallying cry.

“Some teams have bigger budgets, but we want to make sure that people fear us because we’re good players, we’re a good team and we know that we can beat anyone on our day,” said Bennett.

“I think he’s very positive with what he wants to do with the club. He’s outlined the way he wants his team to look and he’s very structured in the way that he wants us to get better as players week in, week out.

“From what I can tell his work ethic is going to be through the roof to try and help us all improve, to ultimately help move the club in the right direction.

“We felt we were really unlucky to go into the break two goals down because in the first half we created lots of chances.

“The weekend showed the strength and belief that we can create within our squad. We all gave everything we’ve got to get a result and at the end of the day that showed.”

The only victories that the U’s faithful got to celebrate in November came in cup competitions, as they won in both the Emirates FA Cup and EFL Trophy.

Since Bonner’s exit, United have shown great fight in south London and also seen off Fleetwood Town to progress to the third round of the FA Cup – where they will travel to Ewood Park to face Blackburn Rovers.

Bennett described the draw as a ‘really exciting tie’ where he is relishing the chance to test himself against Championship opposition.

The right-back said: “It’s been a tough month for the club but I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure that I’ve put in positive performances individually and it’s good to know that the fans have noticed that and rewarded me for it.

“I just want to play every single game like I have luckily done so far. I just want to get better and better each week and prove to the club that I’m more than capable of being a good right-back at this level.”

Cambridge United, Cambridge BID and the Cambridge Independent have teamed up to give supporters the chance to vote for their Love Cambridge Player of the Month. Sponsor Love Cambridge is part of Cambridge BID, a collaboration of 1,200 businesses working together to promote and improve the city.

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