Cambridge United manager Mark Bonner is about turning around their fortunes in front of goal and Saturday’s league game against Portsmouth

Mark Bonner insists his Cambridge United squad need to be more creative in order to start scoring on a more regular basis.

Relegation-threatened U’s have scored 26 goals in 33 league games so far this season, the second-lowest combined tally of all Sky Bet League One matches.

Cambridge head home to a double header against Portsmouth (tomorrow, 3pm) and Morecambe (Tuesday, 7.45pm) having drawn away defeats at Fleetwood Town (1-0) and Exeter City (2-0) last week.

Mark Bonner prepares for Cambridge United to face Portsmouth tomorrow. Photo: Simon Lancaster
Mark Bonner prepares for Cambridge United to face Portsmouth tomorrow. Photo: Simon Lancaster

The U’s are currently 23rd in League One, two places and two points from safety, and Coach Bonner knows his record in front of goal has to improve if he’s to avoid falling.

“Overall for us this season, we’re taking a beating in terms of scoring goals and creating chances,” he said.

“It’s not just the strikers playing. This is across the team. This is on all of us to be a more creative team.

“There have been many matches that have been very close and so, when we are in it, we have to win it.

“When we’re at the top we have to beat them and in those moments that’s the big thing for us.

Only when that happens will we likely find more confidence and energy to be who we need to be.

“I’m sure we can get them shooting, we’ve got some good players here, but at the moment we just have to find that rhythm in our attacking play.

“We’re not going to win every game, we know that. We have to win enough games and we have to make sure we have an attacking threat to do that.

“Part of that comes from the intensity and the goal without the ball and part of that comes from the decision-making and quality with it, and then the ruthlessness and clinical nature of finishing chances when you get them.

“I have to try to take the weight of the world off their shoulders. The pressure is on the tires and we have to remember that.”

Cambridge welcome a Portsmouth side to the Abbey Stadium this weekend who have come to some form since appointing John Mousinho as their new manager in January.

Pompey got 17 points from Mousinho’s first nine games in charge, including back-to-back wins over Cheltenham Town (4-0) and Bolton Wanderers (3-1) last week.

Tomorrow’s visitors will still pin their hopes on a late push to the play-offs, where they will finish 10th, but with an 11-point gap to fluctuate over the last few months of the season.

“They’ve been pretty consistent in terms of their form and the players they’ve played,” said Bonner, who made the trip to Fratton Park on Tuesday night to watch Portsmouth beat Bolton.

“I thought they were excellent against Bolton on Tuesday. They had a really good result coming from behind and the crowd really packed them in and helped them.

“You can see they’ve got this little jump in energy. They have an outside bet on the playoffs.

“They’re telling themselves it might be too far, but at the moment they definitely have some momentum going into the season.

“They played a good attacking structure and had some good attacking options.”

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