Thursday, 16 July 2015

What did we learn from Cherries' US trip?

The main aspect I found encouraging from the Cherries trip to Philadelphia was that everyone looked to enjoy themselves and were keen to impress. The length of the trip was not too long but certainly intense in terms of training and fitness work. Pleasingly the lads won their friendly match as well against the first MLS side that the club has ever played and with more soccer fans in the US and other parts of the world a little more aware of the Cherries' Rocky-style rise to the top, there is a real feel good spirit about the south coast side that is now coming back home but not without some memories - some of which Eddie Howe says will be things that he looks back fondly on for years to come.

Heading back to English soil, what can the Cherries do against Exeter City?
It is always great to do something a little out of routine and special and the trip to North America was certainly that. There were some good team-bonding moments like the rowing competition and introductions from the new players, while I was glad to see some time also taken by Jeff Mostyn to do some community work and to get to know the local people and some of their problems. There is no rule in what you must do in preparing for a first season in the Premier league and we'll find out if AFCB have done it right or not in the coming months. The comments from the player's daily diaries though sounded like it was a great experience.

Pleasingly, I have not heard any bad injury news. While Yann Kermorgant took a hefty tackle in the second half he got straight up and played on against Philadelphia Union, I suspect he'll be keen to play some part in the game down at Exeter City on Saturday. The shape of the team with Wilson and King up top though looked particularly powerful and the striker area is one of the most competitive in the squad now. Against the Grecians Eddie Howe may well look at new pairings to see how well they go against English opposition. Adam Smith impressed again by turning provider for a couple of goals and may be he will be paired with Christian Atsu, while Tokelo Rantie worked well with Marc Pugh when he came on against Philadelphia Union. At the back there is still plenty of time to experiment and while Eddie probably knows his first choice back four, he'll have to plan for injuries and get as many players up to speed as he can. 

That was part of the success of the team's foreign workout - everyone got some minutes on the pitch. Now we'll see how they cope back in England having had a long flight and how well they can recover the following week before visiting the continent.

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