Cambridge boss targets Wigan Athletic 'key' man to stop at the DW

Cambridge United head coach Mark Bonner has told his players that locking down Charlie Wyke is the 'key' to stopping Wigan Athletic this weekend.
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Wyke, who recently picked up the Sky Bet League One player of the month award, has scored five goals in the first six games of the campaign.

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And although Latics have lost their last two matches - against Barnsley and Blackpool, who both kept Wyke scoreless - Bonner is well aware of the danger that lies ahead.

Charlie Wyke has been earmarked as Latics' man to stop this weekend by Cambridge head coach Mark BonnerCharlie Wyke has been earmarked as Latics' man to stop this weekend by Cambridge head coach Mark Bonner
Charlie Wyke has been earmarked as Latics' man to stop this weekend by Cambridge head coach Mark Bonner
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“He’s an excellent finisher, a brilliant forward and he’s had a tough time," said Bonner. "But he’s back enjoying his football again and being successful.

“We know the difficulty that he’s going to cause us, and certainly trying to secure him in and around the penalty box is going to be key because he’s an excellent finisher, very dangerous on crossing situations.

“But also we’ve got to try to prevent those moments from occurring.

"It’s a little bit of everything, probably in our defensive play, to prevent and limit the amount of chances they can create and then look after the players that can score.

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“But if you spend all of your attention on one player, there will be plenty of others that can unlock you.

"(Stephen) Humphrys, (Callum) Lang, (Callum) McManaman...all very good players in the attacking line and they’ve got plenty of options on the bench as well.”

Bonner, who this week signed a contract extension at Cambridge, masterminded a famous 2-1 win at the DW two seasons ago, which delayed the winning of the League One title.

It's a different challenge now, of course, with Shaun Maloney having replaced Leam Richardson in the Wigan hotseat, and the financial landscape at the DW having changed immeasurably.

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“It’s very different to the journey that we’ve had in recent seasons," Bonner told the Cambridge Independent. "And I’d imagine that is a tough task to try to manage.

“But I think Shaun has done a great job since the summer to manage to keep many of the squad together, and to add the right players and build a team that is playing in a really good style.

“Obviously their league position is false...they’re eight points better off than that in terms of points gained this season.

"And they’ll be a strong team at the top end of the league, there’s no doubt about that.

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"They’ve got some Championship players in there and some top players at this level., they’ve got goals in the team, they play with a style where they try to dominate the ball, and they do it very, very well in possession.

"They’re very fluid, very composed with the ball, so we know what a task that is.

“Any time we play any of the big clubs or ones that have been relegated from the Championship, there’s another level there and the expectation is different.

"It will certainly be a really tough game for us, but we have to draw some inspiration from the game we had there last time.

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"We played with a real courage and a real aggression – and we have to do the same this weekend.”

Former Latics midfielder Jordan Cousins, who joined Cambridge over the summer after two injury-plagued seasons at the DW, will miss the trip north through injury.