Saturday, 20 December 2014

Cherries on Top

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I am pleased to be able to say that we have a guest column today on Cherry Chimes. To share some wisdom over the festive season and before the January transfer window, freelance journalist Matthew Harris has kindly prepared this article to give an update to Championship supporters that might be surprised at AFC Bournemouth's rise to see what might be in store for our beloved south coast club in the season. It's over to you Matthew.

There’s not many amongst even the most hopeful of Bournemouth fans that could honestly say that they are where they expected to be at this point of the season. Having topped the league in December and made a quarter final appearance in the League Cup is surely cause for some to wonder, when they will wake up from this amazing dream?

Well Deserved
But as true as it is that the final table never lies, Bournemouth are not in what could be called a ‘false position’ and their position in the Championship betting market is fully deserved. The Cherries set the tone with an opening day thrashing of Huddersfield away and have not looked back since. At various points in the five months of the season naysayers have predicted the wheels to fall off but they are still going strong – never more so than the 8-0 demolition of Birmingham in October. But can Bournemouth keep this phenomenal form going? And can they achieve the unthinkable and get promoted to the promised land of the...

Premier League?
Although Bournemouth’s rise from the financial depths has been well documented there are obviously much bigger clubs – with much bigger budgets – that could make their presence felt in the second half of the season. And even with the recent news that three of the big boys of the division – Blackburn, Leeds and Forest – have been handed transfer embargoes for the rest of the season for breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, the Championship is hardly a level playing field when it comes to wealth.

It is questionable whether Bournemouth need to change their plans radically to keep up the pace in the division however. There had been rumours that they would fail the new FFP but the club have spent a comparatively meagre £11million assembling their table topping side. And assistant manager Jason Tindall has recently declared that Bournemouth would not be splashing out in January – or any other transfer window for that matter.
Dan Gosling is an experienced Premier League who can help the Cherries make the step up.
Callum Wilson has been a revelation since his move from Coventry City in the summer, scoring eleven goals in all appearances. Add to that the Premier league experience of Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling, signed from Norwich and Newcastle respectively, and there seems little manager Eddie Howe needs to do to bolster the squad to continue the good form into the New Year.
It was a key signing to bring Andrew Surman back to the Goldsands Stadium.
An obvious confidence boost would be to secure the permanent signing of Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc though. A keeper with such formidable top level experience could become invaluable for the Championship run in.
Artur Boruc is possibly the only transfer target for the Cherries in January.
Possible Additions?
Bournemouth’s defence has played a major role in the side’s success but it has been further up the pitch that the team have excelled. The Cherries are the top scorers in the league and those goals have been shared throughout the squad. Wilson is the top goal scorer with 12 goals so far (before the Blackpool match). As for additions, Burnley’s Danny Ings has been heavily linked with a return to the club he left a few years ago, but even with Burnley finding life tough in the top division it is unlikely that Ings would drop a level at this stage of the season – and the cut in wages that that would surely involve.

Another player linked with the club is DJ Campbell who, after being released by QPR, has been plying his trade at non league Maidenhead United. His experience of playing at a higher level – and goal scoring ability – could be beneficial to the club as the season draws to a close.

If anything Eddie Howe may find that it is Bournemouth that will be fending off transfer requests for some of their stars. Steve Cook has been linked with Leicester, Palace and West Brom and other players such as Marc Pugh and the aforementioned Wilson will surely be attracting Premier League clubs desperately looking for a boost to their own squads in January.

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