Garner previews Cambridge United clash

Ben Garner coaching training

Ben Garner wants his side to carry on the momentum from Tuesday night’s win as they take on Cambridge United at The Valley on Saturday.

The Addicks boss is expecting a difficult test from Mark Bonner’s side, who achieved a respectable mid-table finish in their first season back in League One for 20 years last season.

“They’re a good club,” said Garner. “Ben Strang’s done a really good job as Sporting Director and I think Mark Bonner’s done an unbelievable job as Manager. They've done brilliantly to get promoted and have a really strong season in League One last year and I’m sure they’re looking to build on that. They’ve been really unlucky in the two away games that they’ve lost. I’ve watched both games, [they] didn’t deserve to lose at Oxford, a last-minute goal going in and you look at 4-1 against Portsmouth and the easy thing to go is ‘well Portsmouth have been dominant and they’ve won the game heavily’ but it wasn’t the case. They could have been two, if not 3-0 up at half time Cambridge.

“They’re a good team, very well organised. You can see that they work hard for each other and there’s a real good team ethic there and they’ve got quality and pace, especially on transitions. We need to be right at our levels, we need to perform well to win but we want to try and kick off from where we finished off on Tuesday night and be on the front foot and attack from that first whistle and hopefully get another home win on the board.”

Garner explained that Chuks Aneke has suffered a setback in his recovery and will be out for a short period and one or two unnamed players will be assessed. Meanwhile, Mandela Egbo has been out running and making progress.

“Chuks has had a little setback so we’re disappointed for him, but it’s not too serious,” revealed the boss. “It’s a similar grade to what he had previously so it’s not long, long term. It’ll just be a short period of time and we’ll get him back as quickly as possible and hopefully we can and get him back playing because it’s never nice for a player to be injured. These are people first and foremost and it’s hard for them in terms of their emotions and their feelings. They want to be out there with their team.

“Mandela Egbo’s a real positive at the moment. He’s been on the grass, he’s been running this week. He’s got a great smile on his face for doing so, so that’s really good progress. DJ, he’s trained the last two days no problem, so he’ll be fine and be available for selection and then I’ve got a meeting straight after this to see where we are with one or two others.

“From day one the objective was to have a squad where we can make changes. It’s a season, there’s no point putting players at risk in the first three or four weeks of the season and losing them for a period of time. We want to try and help them be available for as many games as possible. We also want that competitiveness within the squad that when someone comes in, we keep the same levels. Different players offer different dynamics to the team, they’ve all got their own strengths and it's about choosing what’s right for each game and also what’s right for the group as a whole.”

Charlton cruised to victory with a 5-1 thrashing over Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night and were cheered on by a rocking atmosphere by The Valley faithful, and Garner highlighted the fantastic fan support and how important a factor they play in the players performing at home.

“The atmosphere’s been great so far and hopefully we can build that,” he said. “We want people to enjoy watching us play and winning games helps that for sure. The atmosphere second half in particular, I thought it was fantastic.

“We want to be going there each and every game, players looking forward to it, supporters looking forward to it and hopefully we can get as many wins at home as possible this season.”

The Addicks host Cambridge United at The Valley on Saturday. Click here to get your ticket.

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