Saturday, 16 March 2013

End of season mind games, they've begun

Eddie Howe has been quoted as saying that he will be out to attack against Oldham today to try and get the three points the team desperately needs to climb the league. Well, I guess that is what we all want to hear him say, but why say it now? Does he believe that Oldham will come out flying at the Cherries if he says this, leaving gaps at the back that can be exploited? Will it change anything in what Oldham set out to do during the 90 minutes? I'd say Eddie Howe's words probably won't have any immediate affect on the final outcome of the match, so are managers making such comments just to give the media something to say?

Its easy to say words, but managers have to set teams up in a way that they feel will get a result and the players have to carry out coach's instructions to the best of their ability while adapting to whatever situation arises during the game.

A red card in the first five minutes of a game can throw out a week's planning in a couple of seconds. It happens. Hopefully, not to us in any of our remaining matches this season.

All the Eddie can do is look at Oldham's resent performances and how they like to set up for home games and pick a side that combats their threat, while giving the Cherries plenty of possession and opportunities to cause problems at the other end. It's easy to be a manager you may say. But the pressure is really on now and some times managers make comments just to try and keep any momentum they have after a victory still going.

Just look at the problems Eddie has to cope with. The official club site says Daniels and Elphick will still probably not be available. Is Matt Ritchie fully recovered from his head injury he sustained in the week? Well, Howe said Matt would have played on but for the fact that the team couldn't wait 15 minutes for him to be stitched up. 

Then there's Arter. He gets a lot of groans from home fans when he gets yellow cards or doesn't find his team mates, but he is undoubtedly the heart beat of this team. He sets the pace and the last few games with out him have shown how he is missed. Its Arter that disrupts the opposition's midfield and wins the ball in dangerous areas. If he is only 90 per cent fit, I am sure that Howe will start him. 

I'm also pleased to see that O'Kane is also starting to show similar aggression when he goes forward as shown in the Stevenage game.

 Any way, by taking thoughts away from the injury worries Eddie can concentrate on the positives and get the team thinking of winning the game.

I expect Howe to play with two upfront and this is also what I he is probably inferring when he says he is going to Oldham to attack. I have no doubt that the number 40 shirt will be one of the strikers, but who will play with Pitman? Is Grabban about to be dropped? I don't expect so, he is our leading scorer and by giving him at least 60 minutes, Howe will be giving him confidence. Of course if we are three down and he misses a few chances, Tubbs will be raring to go.

As for the mind games, I am sure that psychology plays a big part in manager's and player's preparations. Eddie wants the team to play on the front foot and to go and earn the points by playing to their strengths. He's telling the team they can do it and he has confidence in them. 

My team is as follows:
Allsop, Francis, Cook, Seaborne, Ritchie, Fogden, Arter, O'Kane, Pugh, Pitman, Grabban

No real surprises there, but what about the bench?
Jalal, Hughes, Macca, Fraser (if fit), McQuoid, Tubbs.

Can you see a different line up?

If you are going to the match and can send in a picture after the match to Cherry Chimes please do. It's great if people can get involved in improving the blog and if you have something to say don't be shy.

Also, if you have any score predictions tweet them to peterbell19

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