Monday, 12 October 2015

Refocussing on the positives

AFCB have had a tough last few weeks. The games have been close affairs but the points have been hard to win and while eight points from eight games keeps the Cherries on course There is a feeling that if they had just had a bit more luck it could have been 10 or 11 points for them at this stage.

The international break will give the team more of a chance to work out how they might best take on some of the big heavyweights in the league in the coming weeks. Man City and Spurs will be followed by a League Cup match against Liverpool and a derby against Southampton. I don't think I can remember a more exciting run of fixtures for the team and the challenge is really to progress in the cup and to get some points out of these games which are amongst the hardest on the calendar.

Everyone is going to have to be at a peak level in these matches and being a set of games that will see the Cherries be away from the Vitality Stadium in the main there will be a need to try and make the team play better when they don't have the ball and to be more reliant. On the road the team has been less able to reduce the goals against and clean sheets have been absent unless we count the League Cup match against Hartlepool. I think that has to be a firm objective that the players can try to improve on. A point away against either Man City or Southampton would be a good result and by keeping a clean sheet that can be obtained. 
Eunan O'Kane was back in action against Watford having missed out against Stoke.
The team selection also becomes a bit more of a challenge now as there are so many games coming up in just a few days. The whole squad is likely to be used and that could mean that we see a great performance by one of the players who has been on the sidelines a bit of late. I am hoping that we may see something of Joe Bennett as well as perhaps the return of Harry Arter.

Despite the injuries, the players have been committed to attacking teams and it is good to see that the mood is still positive in camp and that everyone is supporting each other. I had a word with Tommy Elphick just before the Watford match and while he said he would be out for longer than two months it was clear that he had accepted his own position and that he was just motivated to get back as soon as he could and to help the others. It is only the Norwich match that really saw the Cherries slump from their high standards, and if they can pick up some points in the next few matches we should see that gap from the bottom three start to grow.  

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