Friday, 20 September 2013

Three at the back becomes a reality

Eddie Howe has always said since early this last summer that he would be prepared to play three at the back in some games that warranted it and now we have seen the system put into practise for the first time against Barnsley, and to good effect. It was not clear who would be the three to play at the back but with the enforced change to the team during the game, it was Elphick, Ward and Cook who took up the roles with Francis and Pugh pushing on as wing backs.

We may see some goal post worshiping again soon.

I expect that Charlie Daniels would have been the left wing back if he had been available with Francis on the right. There is a strong feeling to having Elphick, Cook and Ward in the line up and it will be of great interest to see how often they do set out to play that way with Elphick now returning to full fitness.

While it is early days, I would say that Steve Cook has been pretty well outstanding so far this season and Elliott Ward just gets better every game. The centre backs are really pushing each other along now and it looks good for AFCB in this area, having got over the early setbacks of letting in a bucket load of goals.

Tommy Elphick is a player that surely Eddie Howe will look to now.

There is a challenge though for the centre back and full back that I reckon is spurring them on a bit. It is the contest to see who out of our defenders can weigh in with the first Championship goal. Elliot Ward has definitely been getting forward more and more and has been the main target for Cook's long throws and many of the corner kicks. Francis and Daniels though are also great at getting forward and my money would be on Daniels to score first if he did not have this niggling foot injury. I suspect that surgery may be required if the problem persists.

Steve Cook seems to do such a great job of being last man when everyone else is up that his opportunity to score another salmon-like leap of a headed goal, as he did against Carlisle last season, may be more limited. So perhaps Tommy Elphick will be the first to break the net and re-establish his authority as captain marvel.

Have a vote for which AFCB defender you think will score first this season – the poll is on the right hand panel.

Meanwhile, if you have not already checked out Rival Lines today, hit the link and read all about James Stevenson's comments on Middlesbrough ahead of this weekends game. James runs the Stevo's Boro blog and he is already worried that Tokelo Rantie may score against them having lost out in the race to sign him with AFCB.

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