Friday, 4 October 2013

Eddie Howe's selection issues (plus Millwall fan interview)

There was a wry smile on Eddie Howe's face when he was asked on Cherries Player who exactly was close to featuring this coming Saturday against Millwall. He wasn't going to tell us who was fit and who will be on the bench but it's always fun to test him with that question.

Eddie Howe for once has a few selection decisions to make ahead of tomorrow's game. While the performance of Jack Collison on Tuesday should see his inclusion in the team, there must be a real battle on for some of the other places. Andrew Surman did particularly well when he came on in the second half at Leeds and his legs will not have done as much running as Enuan O'Kane. I am not sure if MacDonald is able to feature on the bench but I suspect Collisson and O'Kane will start.

Then there is the discussion of who to play up front. Grabban you would think is a must start and that leaves Pitman or Rantie. Rantie was preferred for the last game and while he has been putting in the minutes Pitman will be fresh. Both Pitman and Rantie are looking to get on that score sheet but I think Rantie will start and either he or Grabban will get replaced on 60 minutes.

Fraser will also be in line to start having not played more than 30 minutes at Leeds. I am keen to know who else though is coming back to fitness. Coulibably and McQuoid were on the bench for the last home game, while it would be great to see Arter or Hughes back in contention. Eunan O'Kane indicated in his pre-match interview that Harry Arter may be one who is close to making a full recovery and that would certainly put a smile on my face.

Can Arter or MacDonald make it back to the squad for Saturday?
I don't think the formation is much of an issue now. It should be 4-4-2. Ian Harte has shown that he can do his job and Eddie Howe does not want to unsettle the crowd like the last home game. Looking at the keeper situation, everyone would have expected Flahavan to start, but he picked up a thigh strain at Leeds and Howe has made a new 3-month loan signing from West Ham - Stephen Henderson. I don't know much about Stephen but it looks like he will start the game even though AFCB has just recalled Jalal from Oxford Utd.

We've got some new faces then at AFCB and I'll have to get the camera out to recognise who is who. I only hope our players are familiar with West Ham's players as we seem to be playing as many of them as we can. Having had a post-season friendly with them I am sure the lines of communication are strong between the clubs, but didn't we also play Real Madrid pre-season and I've heard Mr Ronaldo isn't that bad. Has someone got Ancelotti's number?

You can now read up on Millwall FC, the next visitors to Dean Court. Our Rival Lines feature offers a chat with Merv Payne who is a regular writer for Sabotage Times. He discusses Millwall's sudden improvement under Steve Lomas.

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