Saturday, 13 September 2014

Home form all important now for Cherries

In the next four days AFCB have two home games to play against Yorkshire sides, and that aim will certainly be to take all six points. Eddie Howe does have to consider his selections very carefully though for these games, and getting the balance between a consistent team and fresh legs to go and attack in both games is what he gets paid to do. 

While we know that Ryan Fraser is a likely candidate to be rested for the first 45 minutes against Rotherham at least, after his match for Scotland's U-21 in the week, and Tokelo Rantie's late dash back to England is also likely to rule him out from a start, there is no need for any player not to feel that he could play some time in the one or both of the next two games, barring no injuries were picked up during training in the international break. 

With Elliott Ward definitely out for a long period, Cook and Elphick should start as the centre back pairing while Simon Francis is favourite to pip Adam Smith on the right again and Charlie Daniels is likely to keep Ian Harte out at left back, although I am sure Ian would love to get an outing against Leeds Utd on Tuesday night. 

Arter and O'Kane seem essential picks these days along with Callum Wilson, but then the options really begin for Eddie Howe. I expect Pugh and Stanislas to start the Rotherham match with Fraser and Ritchie on the subs bench, but I also expect them to be joined by Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman as long as Eddie recalls Yann Kermorgant to the starting line up at home. That just leaves the keeper and Lee Camp will be hoping to get some more clean sheets to beat what he did last season.
AFCB players limber up.
In short, Eddie must pick his strongest side against Rotherham and see how the land lies on Sunday and Monday before making adjustments for Leeds' visit. I expect AFCB have plans for how they want to play in both games, but if the team plays well against Rotherham do players really need to be rotated for a game three days later? I don't expect wholesale changes over the two games but two changes to the starting line ups might just be enough to get the most out of the players. These home games will set the pattern for the autumn period so it is key that AFCB get the wins now in front of a noisy home crowd. See you there if you are at the match today - UTCIAD!

Match officials for today's match are:
Referee: Graham Horwood
Assistant Referees: John Busby and Andrew Laver
Fourth Official: Tim Wood

Lastly, I have been asked to write some wider articles on football for the News Hub website and I have just posted my first entry on QPR's ticking time bomb, so please click on the link to see how the story unfolds. 

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