Saturday, 3 January 2015

Up for the cup: Cherries fancy another cup run

It has taken the Premier League quality of Liverpool FC to knock AFCB out of the last two national cup competitions, and as the Cherries line up again in the Third round of the FA Cup there should be plenty of fans thinking that the Cherries are a good bet to reach the latter stages of this competition. The Cherries' squad is quite large now and Eddie Howe could well make 11 changes to the team that went out in the last game against Millwall. One change that will be made is in goal where Lee Camp is due to start for Artur Boruc who did not sign in time to play in the Rotherham match, but will be available in subsequent rounds of the FA Cup if AFCB can get past the Millers.
Bailey may get another chance to impress in the FA Cup.
Is there a reason to play 10 other new starters though against Rotherham? I feel that while Eddie used the League Cup very much in this way he might pick a mixed team of four or five regulars to start this match with a few less used players also coming in. The balance of the team is always important and I am sure that AFCB don't want to go out at this stage of the cup if they can avoid doing so.

Some players have been under used though this season and Ryan Fraser, Dan Gosling, Baily Cargill, Eunan O'Kane, Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas are players that would surely really like to have a game. Ian Harte has also been back training, but this game may be too soon for him. If Shaun MacDonald is really looking at a loan move in January, Eddie Howe may choose to leave him out of any line up as well. Joe Partington is also said to be doing well with his training and I have seen him around the players a lot more recently. It has been reported by the Echo that Joe's route back to playing games will come through the Development squad's game against Luton next Tuesday. I also wonder how close Elliott Ward is to making an appearance in the Development team? It will be good when the Cherries get back to full strength.
Can Ryan force his way back into the team?
Rotherham will not be any push overs on their own patch and AFCB will have to be very determined to match the Millers, who will see this fixture as a no pressure match compared to the league games. I expect a good Rotherham crowd with the low prices and visit of the Championship leaders. Whoever does come out on top will be really looking forward to the Fourth Round draw with a potential TV tie.      

UPDATE: Joe Partington has been loaned out to Eastleigh until 1 Feb 2015.

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