Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Changes at the back are upsetting for Cherries

AFCB have been really unlucky with their personnel in trying to keep a regular back four together. No sooner than Charlie Daniels picks up an injury than Elliott Ward goes down with an injury to his knee and has to drop out of the starting line up. When you consider that Ian Harte and Steve Cook needed to come into the starting line up for the Bolton game it is asking a lot for them to be perfectly solid having just come back in.
Tommy Elphick was not able to help keep a clean sheet against Bolton.  
Lost of swapping and changing but the goals are still going in at the back.
That is the challenge that these players face though. They have to be ready to step in when their chance comes. It cannot be helpful though to Howe to have his back four continually disrupted when he is looking for consistency in his players and in trying to get the clean sheets that are so difficult to achieve.

It is therefore not that surprising that Adam Smith has been held back from making his debut since resigning. Eddie Howe is constantly shuffling the pack at the back as it is without intentionally wanting to replace his back four every game. That could mean that Adam has to wait some time for his chance, although I see he played for the Development team yesterday.

At the weekend Ian Harte found Chris Eagles just a tad quicker than him over both long and short distances, but it was the left backs' gifted left foot that enabled Simon Francis to score the equaliser against Bolton. Eddie Howe knows what he gets with Ian Harte and will set the rest of his players up accordingly. Meanwhile, Cook throws himself into every game at full pelt and with Tommy they make a perfectly good centre back partnership, even if they haven't the experience of Ward.

Simon Francis will have been pleased with his goal and perhaps the arrival of Adam Smith is just what he needed to push his game on. It looks like Eddie will keep the back four as they are until Daniels and Ward are able to return. But if the team can manage a couple of clean sheets before then that would give the manager something to think about.

Ian Harte has a big job to do at the weekend to keep Burnley out.

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