Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Cook and Elphick are making Cherries hard to beat

Just a few hours before the match against Charlton, Tommy Elphick signed a new extension to his AFCB contract that now keeps him at Dean Court until June 2017. It comes as no real surprise that the popular captain wants to stay longer at the club having shared in the success since his arrival in 2012. Tommy goes about his work quietly and calmly, and is one of the reasons why the Cherries have looked less flustered at the back in recent times. His partnership with Steve Cook is maturing into one of the best centre back pairings in the Championship.
Tommy Elphick was keen to sign up for a few more years at AFCB.
It is likely that AFCB fans will see a lot of Tommy and Steve this season as Elliott Ward is not going to feature before Christmas, if his recovery goes the full expected length of time. A year ago Eddie Howe may have stressed a bit about the pressure on Cook and Elphick to get the clean sheets that the club needs to be a force in this division, but the two of them have shown that they are right at the peak of their game and are enjoying the challenge of marking the Championship's lead marksmen. Having to train with Callum Wilson every week they probably are pleased when they face other strikers that are not quite so lively, and the timing of some of the tackles that we see now from Tommy and Steve should be celebrated as much as the goals at the other end.

Steve Cook made some amazing challenges on Ahearne-Grant in the Charlton match in the first half were simply tenacious and must have been wholly satisfying for him as he even stop the forward sitting on the grass in Bournemouth's penalty area. The margin for error is minor in this league and yet even when Cook does not stay on his feet he manages to come out smiling these days. It is just the same for Tommy Elphick, although you'll usually see Tommy winning the aerial contests and stabbing his foot in on the ball to stop the opposing forwards from getting set to shoot. The art of defending is certainly in good hands at AFCB while they can keep Elphick and Cook on their books. 
Steve Cook is keeping the goals out with Tommy Elphick at the back.
The talk is certainly on achieving more now in terms of where the team can finish this season and for that to happen the team has to become meaner in defence. We have seen two clean sheets against Wigan and Charlton, and now the test will be to carry on that form against a Reading side who Eddie Howe has stated will be keen to avenge last season's result at the Goldsands. But Cook and Elphick can set their own record by seeking that third clean home sheet in a row, and if they can do it the fans should recognise the great job that the two central defenders are consistently doing now.

Don't forget to have a look at the Tilehurst Blog that should have some of my pre-match thoughts up today. They also have an excellent podcast that previews the match and talks about Reading's form going into tonight's match.

You can also get a voucher for your next bet if you back a team through Free Bet Negotiator. UTCIAD!

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