The Bees pre-season draws to a close this Saturday (29th July,15:00 KO) as Dean Brennan’s side welcomes League One side Cambridge United to The Hive.
So, What’s the Buzz?
The Bees have produced fine displays in their football and fitness levels as they’ve remained unbeaten during pre-season. Standouts include Marvin Armstrong, Harry Pritchard, Ben Coker, and new signing Reece Hall-Johnson whose brace sealed the win last week against a Chelsea side. Last week’s match showed the best of Barnet, with their ability to fight back and win a dogged affair with conviction. Dean Brennan, his staff, and the fans will want to see a similar performance against Cambridge before the league gets underway.
Cambridge United will be looking to better what was a difficult 2022/23 campaign in which they pulled off an improbable final-day survival. The U’s pre-season has also been full of positives with notable wins against Gillingham and Ipswich Town coming in the past week. Cambridge usually plays in a 4-2-3-1 formation but with the loss of Sam Smith to Reading, the competition for the sole striker position will be intense with Gassan Ahadme coming on loan from Ipswich looking most likely to be Smith’s replacement.
Key Player and Manager
In a squad finely mixed with experience and young talent, Jack Lankester stands out as Cambridge’s key attacking outlet. The 23-year-old plays the traditional number 10 role but can play out wide, making him a versatile option for Mark Bonner. Having spent 2 seasons under Bonner, Lankester is accustomed to his tactics and will be looking to have an explosive season after 2 years of steady growth.
Mark Bonner has been manager of Cambridge since 2021 but has been part of the club for over 2 decades. Born in Cambridge, the 37-year-old coach first joined The U’s in 2002 as a member of their centre of excellence. Having worked several roles at the club, Bonner understands and embraces the culture of the club, leading to him playing attacking, possession-based football. Having gained promotion from League 2 in 2021, Bonner will be wanting to build on what has been Cambridge’s most successful period this century, aiming to develop themselves as a mainstay in England’s third division.
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