“Incredible options were missing during the January transfer window”

Manager Mark Bonner revealed that a lack of suitable options prevented him from strengthening Cambridge United’s attack during the January transfer window.

With Fejiri Okenabirhie ruled out for the rest of the season and Harvey Knibbs and Shilow Tracey both spending time on the sidelines, Bonner has only had Sam Smith and Joe Ironside as established forwards at his disposal in recent weeks.

This has led to questions as to why the club did not use the winter market to recruit at the top end of the field, with United having scored just five Sky Bet League One goals since the turn of the year.

Cambridge United coach Mark Bonner.  Photo: Simon Lancaster
Cambridge United coach Mark Bonner. Photo: Simon Lancaster

However, Bonner insisted he was happy with his options before the injury, and added that alternatives were not readily available.

“We were hoping Knibbsy wouldn’t be broken in this period of time, we were hoping Shilow would be able to be fitter for a while longer and hopefully he’ll get back into that. And Fijiri too, so really five forwards in those positions, we were quite comfortable that those five could be They create chances for us and score goals for us,” he said.

“You don’t expect three of them to come out very quickly after the window so it’s certainly not one that you’re discounting or throwing away. Could we have signed a young player, one who hadn’t played in the first team before and had just come in and been a part of it? Yes. Is there motivation? Big for them if they know they won’t play?

“We’ve had some experience of doing it in the past and they haven’t made any difference. Unless we can sign someone who can make a difference, there’s no real value in doing it.

“There are other clubs who have paid large fees and over £5,000 a week for players on long-term contracts and we’re certainly not on the boat to do that – and we shouldn’t either.

“It certainly isn’t something we have. (There were) very, very few options. People interested in our affairs, but very few other people who we might have thought might make us better.

“The hardest thing now is trying to make sure we get two of those back. If Shilow can fly and Knibbsy can come back we have four guys who can play well there and they will certainly get plenty of offers in the summer.

“If you run out of players or lose players, it’s easy to just say ‘sign more’. But it’s not always that easy. Review points for the season, in terms of good decisions, bad decisions, what went well, what didn’t – For me personally, they came at the end of the season.

“I understand everyone else is coming all the way but now we’re in trouble and shot after game and that’s where we really focus on trying to help these boys get back to the best possible level.”

Niepce could return to the squad for tomorrow’s crucial home game against Morecambe, having been out since February 11 due to an ankle injury.

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