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Neil Cox gives his team news and views ahead of Cambridge home clash

15 October 2020

Manager Neil Cox spoke to iFollow Iron on Thursday ahead of his side’s home league encounter against Cambridge United.

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17 October 2020

Mark Bonner brings his men to the Sands Venue Stadium in second place in Sky Bet League Two after three wins in their opening five league matches.

Speaking ahead of the game, the United boss said: “It’s a tough time with some tough games coming up, but we’re at home.

“We need to set off like we did in the game last Saturday and carry that going forward. We need to play with a tempo, get balls into the box and put them under pressure. We need to defend well, not only as individuals, but also as a team and a unit. That’s what I’m looking for.

“We’ve worked hard with the boys this week and I’m expecting to see something different. They’ve been excellent. We’ve sat down and got through the videos and we’ve worked hard on the training ground. We’ve put some smiles on people’s faces because I don’t want to seem any doom and gloom around the place. We’re five games in and we need to get our home record back on track because we’ve got a lot of tough games coming up.”

The U’s are a side who have largely remained together with the squad built over the last few years, with just a couple of additions in the summer. They come into the game off the back of a 2-1 win at home to Newport County last time out.

“The manager has changed and they’ve brought one or two experienced players in, but the side have been together (for a while),” he continued.

“Wes Hoolahan has come in and is a really good player, who can play in a number of positions, but I’m more focused on what we’re going to do with the ball and without that ball.”

A number of players on the periphery and some coming back from injury all featured in the first of eight Central League fixtures away at Huddersfield on Wednesday.

Cox gave his thoughts on that encounter, which resulted in a 4-0 win: “I thought it was an ideal game for us to allow some players to get 90 minutes to get ready for the nine-week run in now where we’ve got games on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

“We played against a young Huddersfield side, but still had to beat them, which we did do. I saw one or two good things and one or two things that I wasn’t too impressed with. We could have been 8-0 up after 25 minutes.

“We kept creating chances, which we need to do. I took more positives out of the day than I did negatives. Definitely one or two have played their way into my thoughts for the coming weeks and there were one or two who are not yet ready, still not match fit.”

Olufela Olomola made his return following a hamstring injury sustained in pre-season, while Emmanuel Onariase got his most minutes in an Iron shirt after a stop-start pre-season due to a hernia. The boss gave updates on the duo, along with George Hornshaw, who reported to the physios after last weekend’s game, Jordan Clarke and Harrison McGahey.

He said: “It was good to see Fela back out there and we got 60 minutes into him, which is probably more than we wanted to. We need to see how fit we can get him in the next few weeks, because I’m probably going to need him.

“Manny played 80 minutes. I’ve not seen a lot of him other than clips and playing against him last year, but playing for Scunthorpe so far has been difficult. We need to get his career here up-and-running.

"George Hornshaw has had a scan on his hamstring and the scan shows nothing's been torn. We're just having a look at everything else, so he's done a bit of light training. We'll see how he is on Friday before making a final decision. His recovery over the last few days has been unbelievable because we thought he might miss the next couple of weeks initially.

“Jordan and H have both trained and done everything good. It’s difficult, as Jordan could do with a game, but there might not be an opportunity for that, we might just have to throw him into the squad.”

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