Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Cherries seek winning formula for Sky Blues' visit

Eddie Howe has some big thinking to do ahead of tonight's home game against Coventry City. He has to find  a solution that will get the team back to winning ways. To some extent his choices for selection will be more limited for this match if, as I think, Harry Arter has a two match suspension following his accumulated yellow card count (although it only says he has 9 on the club website). If Arter can't be selected it would mean that there would be changes in midfield and having been rested at the weekend it would not be unsurprising to see Macca come back into the team. If O'Kane is still feeling heavy legged I would be tempted to rest him after his performance against Sheffield Utd. That would mean adding the more defence minded Richard Hughes into midfield.

Before everyone says this would not be creative enough, lets look at the problems Eddie has at the back. Painter has not given the team the stability it so needed at left back so far and if we play 442 you can expect Matt Ritchie to be asked to fill in again at left back as he has done nothing wrong when playing there. If Macca comes in, and O'Kane is not rested, McQuoid could play on the right and the rest of the team would be as it was against Sheffield. I expect Ryan Fraser to get at least 20-30 minutes tomorrow but I'm not sure if Eddie will start with him. He looked lively on Saturday on the few occasions he got the ball.

An option that might be considered with the personnel available is to go three at the back with Seaborne on the left, Cook in the middle and Francis on the right. Macca and Hughes could protect the back three and we could have Pugh on the left of midfield and Ritchie on the right. This would the give the Cherries the opportunity to play McQuoid, O'Kane or Fogden in the hole behind the front two of Pitman and Grabban. Would this give us more of the creativity that was lacking on Saturday?

To be honest I expect Howe to stay with 442 and keep O'Kane in the team, as Coventry will probably play two up front. But if this happens we have to play with more attacking intent than we did against Sheffield Utd. It's the injuries to Tommy 
Elphick and Charlie Daniels that is really hurting us at the moment, but the other players have got to step up in their absence. Here's hoping whatever Eddie Howe does he gets it right and we are sitting more comfortably having gained another three points by the end of the night. UTCIAD.

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