Thursday, 12 September 2013

Elphick: can he displace Ward or Cook?

Tommy Elphick has not quite looked like his old confident self of last season yet. His minutes on the pitch have been limited and having been found to be perhaps a yard short of his usual pace in the Huddersfield game, I thought he looked a bit more settled in the Capital One tie against Watford. I can't remember a match when he has started alongside Ward before so in that respect it was quite important for the two to be playing at centre back. Usually it has been Cook and Ward, so now Eddie Howe has been able to see Elphick and Ward together during a match rather than just in training.

Tommy Elphick will be pushing for a place now.
While Ward's night was memorable for his own goal, Elphick had a relatively quiet night and did not put a foot wrong in my book. His usual influence though was perhaps not as strong as it has been in the past. He is still finding his feet at this level and it may take him a few good games and clean sheets to get him feeling that he is doing okay. Getting used to a new partner at centre back also takes a little while.

The one aspect that Eddie has not really pushed ahead with yet is the three at the back. It is still not clear which would be the best three if AFCB were to play that way. Elphick though is one that would take on the responsibility and his movement and positioning is usually pretty good. I still feel he is not quite up to speed yet, but that will come. Hopefully his injuries are clearing up and he can be fully considered for selection now.

Tommy missed out again in the Doncaster away match and it is very strange to see him not on the pitch as captain. Still I think he will get back and it may even be Ward that eventually makes way as I feel that Cook and Elphick just click so well. While the team can keep clean sheets though, it is Tommy that is sitting things out.

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