Saturday, 15 November 2014

Will Elliott Ward find it hard to get back into this team?

Elliot Ward's recovery has been long and I am sure frustrating for Elliott. An innocuous fall into an advertising barrier when AFCB played Ipswich last season has put him out for most of a year now and he will have watched the Cherries impressive run of form knowing that he will have to start exceptionally well to even win a spot on the bench when he returns.

The rise of Baily Cargill is one factor that has been very pleasing to see and that has coincided with Elliott being on the sidelines. The young centre back has already won an U20 England call up and is sure to be the future spine of the Cherries. It has been beneficial for Baily that he has had the chance to play in the Capital One Cups and the absence of Elliott Ward has probably encouraged Eddie Howe to push Baily on to more senior appearances. 
I am hopeful that Elliott Ward is soon ready for the
second half of the season, but he will not find it easy to win back a place.
Now that Elliott is on his way back, he will have a real fight on his hands not only to find his form and fitness to feel he has his competitive edge back, without worrying about his knee, but to find his way back into the playing squad. Rehabilitation is a lonely trail, but Elliott will have had the best assistance that the club has to offer and it will be really pleasing of he does get back into the side before the end of the season. AFCB need competition for places and I am sure that Steve Cook and Tommy Elphick will want to be pressed to encourage them to even better performances.   

The headline maker this week though has been Baily and if he continues to be seen as a natural centre back with the calmness of thought and decision making that have seen him start to challenge Cook and Elphick, Eddie Howe will want to keep his development on a fast pace. It is possible that the Cherries may receive bids for any of their centre backs in January considering how well they have performed, but with a crop of top-class defenders at the club in which I include Joe Partington, the choice of centre back pairings is now excellent. Let's hope that Ward and Partington can get back into the action soon. 

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