Thursday, 12 February 2015

No need to alter Cherries' centre back personnel yet

I could see Elliott Ward doing some pretty full on warm up runs along the touch line on Tuesday night with a bit of a transgression onto the pitch in front of the family stand. He may be keen to stretch his legs on the Goldsands' turf, but Eddie Howe does not often make many changes to a team that has not been defeated for a while.
Can Elliott Ward add more solidity to the defence? 
The match against Derby brought into focus the form of Steve Cook who was arguably at fault for both goals that the Rams scored. It is often his way to try and keep the ball in play when being chased down by a striker and the first goal really could have been avoided, had he decided to take no chances against Darren Bent and deposited the ball in the East stand rather than try and find Artur Boruc with a risky back pass. Still, these things happen and a simple slip, under pressure from Bent, saw him unable to do anything about Bent's cross for Tom Ince to score. Darren Bent also rounded Steve in the box for the second goal and the experience of the on loan Villa striker was not going to make him miss such an opportunity once he had nipped in front and  turned his man.
Elliott Ward could get a chance to start if he can
show that he is safe and assured in his passing at the back.
While it was disappointing to drop two points at home, Bent is the kind of striker that it is good for our back four to play against as it is up just another level again on what they have become accustomed to in the Championship. As long as Cook takes on board what he might have done better then it can make him a better player, and even before that the team might look at why did Cook have to come out to the left and cover? Charlie Daniels must have been caught out up field, but that takes nothing away from a great finish by Tom Ince.
Steve Cook will be looking to put a good performance
in if he gets the chance against Huddersfield.
The decision on when to rest one of a central pair of defenders is not a point that you can take lightly though. Steve has also saved many goals that looked nailed on against AFCB this season. Whether Ward is given an opportunity at home against a team lower down in the table and struggling for form could be a key decision. If Eddie decides not to play Ward then you would think Ward is going to have to wait for an injury or a serious defeat before his name appears on that starting 11, and I think Cook and Elphick's performances as a whole mean that they are likely to keep the shirts for the moment.

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