Thursday, 9 January 2014

What is AFCB's best centre back pairing?

Eddie Howe will have a real headache this weekend now that Steve Cook has resumed full training and is competing for a starting place in the team again. He will say it is a nice headache to have. None of the Cherries' centre backs probably start enjoyed the heavy defeats at the start of the season, but Steve Cook soon found his game and put in some remarkable performances. He will want his place back, but with Elphick and Ward playing so well I can't see him easily fitting back in.

As the season has developed AFCB's centre backs
have started to look much more impregnable.
Pre-season I believe that Ward and Elphick would have been Howe's preferred pairing and the form of Cook probably took him a bit by surprise. When players are doing well you stick by them and it was Tommy Elphick who looked the man who was to lose out. Being captain does not guarantee you a place in the team and when Tommy had a few indifferent games I thought he would not get many games this season. Things turnaround quickly though and, with injuries first to Ward and then to Cook, we have seen quite a mixture of centre back pairings.

Cook could make his return against Wigan.
Captain Tommy will not make it easy for Cook to win his place back.
The fact that Steve Cook won a couple of player of the month a couple of times might give him the edge among fans as to being a player who should regain his place in the team, but I tend to lean slightly towards Ward and Elphick as they just look a shade more composed and less prone to individual errors. In the long term though I believe Steve Cook will turn out to be the best centre back at the club at the rate he is learning and the enthusiasm he shows for the game whenever he puts on an AFCB shirt.
Elliott Ward tends to get Eddie Howe's vote when he is fit.
This morning we have also learnt that Elliott Ward has signed a new 2.5 year contract at AFCB. His experience has been extremely important for the team as a whole and he has shown that he has the appetite to do well in the Championship. 

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