Cambridge United boss Mark Bonner hopes Salford City clash goes ahead

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner is hopeful that their game at Salford City will go ahead at the second attempt tomorrow (Tuesday).

The clubs agreed to move tomorrow’s kick-off time from 7pm to an earlier time of 5.30pm in an attempt to avoid freezing temperatures at the Peninsula Stadium.

United made the trip to Greater Manchester for the initial fixture on January 26, but the game was postponed due to a frozen pitch less than two hours before kick-off.

The Ammies have had their last three home fixtures, including on Saturday against Bolton Wanderers, called off due to unplayable pitches, but Bonner says his side have prepared as usual.

“They’ve looked at the pitch today (Monday) and it will be playable as of this moment,” the head coach said.

“The frost covers are on, they should protect the pitch to a temperature of minus three degrees.

“They don’t see the temperatures dropping below minus one or two degrees, so in the morning obviously if it’s bone hard and frozen, then the covers haven’t worked or the temperatures have dipped below what they’re expected to be.

“Other than that, we expect it to go ahead. Obviously we’ve changed the kick-off time and brought it forward to 5.30pm, in view of the temperatures dropping in the evening tomorrow night.

“With the forecast as it is, and as it has been, the fact that they’ve got the covers on the pitch that should protect it, and that we’re bringing the kick-off time forward, we’re hopeful that the game goes ahead. They’re confident at the moment as well.

“They’ve done everything they can their end, we’ve agreed with the early kick-off time to try and get the game on. I think both teams really want to play, so we’re prepared as normal to go ahead and go and play the game.”

The U’s face a second trip to the North West in the space of a few days following their 2-0 victory at Barrow on Saturday.

Bonner’s side have built momentum in recent weeks, with United currently on a seven match unbeaten run, having picked up 17 points from their last seven matches.

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner. Photo: Simon Lankester

The head coach stressed the importance of getting games to go ahead at present in order to prevent the season from becoming a stop start affair.

“I’m sure that’s why they’re quite keen to get the game on, because you just don’t want to miss out on too many games, and try and keep that rhythm of playing going. We want to try and do that as well,” Bonner added.

“They had a reserve game last week that they played the team in, after the game got called off on the Tuesday, so they’ve tried to keep some sort of rhythm to their fixture programme as best as they can.

“They’re probably going through the same as lots of teams at the moment, where it is a little bit dicey at the moment with the weather.

“I’m sure they’re keen to get playing again, and we want to go and test ourselves against one of the league’s favourites. It’s going to be a good game for us.”

United come into tomorrow’s clash sitting three points clear at the top of League Two, claiming 48 points from 27 matches to date.

Their hosts are currently in ninth place on 38 points from 25 games, having won one of their last six matches.

Bonner is looking forward to his side testing themselves against a team who he believes are expected to be up the top end of the table at the end of the season.

“They’re not embarrassed by that, they’re quite open with their expectations, and their targets,” the head coach said.

“They brought players in that they think can get them to where they want to get to, with lots of experience and leaders in the team.

“It’s difficult to know exactly what they’re going to do, because they’ve got the variety in their team and the shapes that they play since Richie (Wellens) has gone in to not quite [be able to] predict it, and not having played so many games recently, it’s hard.

“Whatever it is, we’ve got to go there and give a good account of ourselves, and show that we can compete with everyone.

“We’re in good form, we’re confident, we’re looking forward to the game, and we want to try and make sure we come home with something.”

Bonner confirmed that Wes Hoolahan will be rested for tomorrow’s clash, whilst Paul Digby remains a doubt having missed the win at Barrow through injury. Everybody else is expected to be fit and available.

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