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Bournemouth's Success No Surprise to McCarthy
Friday, 3rd Apr 2015 06:00

Town boss Mick McCarthy isn’t in the least bit surprised that AFC Bournemouth are leading the Championship going into Easter, believing that the Cherries are the best team in the division (Sky Sports 1, 5pm, kick-off 5.15pm). The Blues start today sixth in the table, six points behind the Dorset side.

The Town manager believes that those who have underestimated Bournemouth may have a false impression of the Cherries.

“Is that because they don’t know a great deal about it or because they guess and they look at teams and think it’s ‘little homely Bournemouth with 10,000 fans or whatever it is'?

“They’re anything but that. They are a very good side and were last year. They’ve invested in it again this year. I think they are the best team in the league. The league at this stage doesn’t tell lies.

“I’m not surprised at all. The only thing I am surprised about is that they didn’t get in the play-offs and push for promotion last year because I thought they would.”

He added: “They’ve spent a few quid, a few more million than I have because I don’t think I’m at that million figure anyway.

“They’ve got good players, Eddie Howe’s done a very good job, of course. But they have been backed. They’ve got Tokelo Rantie who’s a sub, who I think they spent £3 million on.

“Callum Wilson, they spent a few million on in the summer. It’s not like they haven’t done it and I’m not feeling the ‘homely little Bournemouth’ thing. They’re a very, very good side, very professional and well-versed in the arts of the Championship as well.”

He says a lot of praise should go to his opposite number Howe: “The manager’s got to take some credit, that’s for sure. He made a good signing in Wilson in the summer.

“I think they were the beneficiaries of the Adam Lallana deal [when he moved from Southampton to Liverpool last summer] because he’d been there as a kid and that’s been spent well.

“I think Andrew Surman and Harry Arter are terrific in the middle of the park. They’re a strong team all over. I could be going through them and I’d be waxing lyrical about all of them, so I don’t really want to do that.”

Howe has said expects top scorer Wilson to miss out through injury, although McCarthy says he never takes claims of that type seriously.

“I don’t believe anything anybody says or does,” he said. “In fact I believe nothing people tell me and only half they show me up until an hour before kick-off and I get the teamsheet.

“And why would I? I had Didzy coming back for about three weeks and I knew full well he was injured for those three weeks.

“But why would I tell everybody everything? When the teamsheet comes in I’m not surprised, ‘Told you didn’t believe a word they were saying’. I hope he’s not, by the way, because he’s a good player!”

He recalls that the Blues did well to get a 2-2 draw at the Goldsands Stadium earlier in the season having gone behind after two minutes and with the Cherries dominant in the first 20 minutes.

“I seem to remember Bart made a good save to keep it at 1-0 and had it gone to 2-0 we might have got walloped,” he added.

“But that’s what the keeper is there for and I think it showed the team spirit the mettle of us and how we keep going. We got better in that game and it was a really good point.”

Town are expecting a crowd of 23,000 for what’s being built up to be a very crucial game in the Blues’ season.

“So they should [build it up],” McCarthy said. “If we win we’re three points behind them. I’m saying that Bournemouth are the best team in the league, the table doesn’t lie with only seven games to go.

“I’m as pragmatic as ever. If we win we’re three points behind them and other results [could] go our way. But the only result we can do anything about is ours. Let’s try and win that and worry about everyone else afterwards.”

He says the Portman Road crowd can play a big part: “Absolutely, good support and vociferous support in our favour.

“When you go to grounds and they’re full and they’re all baying for your blood it tests people out. Let’s hope we can test Bournemouth out with a bit of that.”

The Blues boss was typically tightlipped regarding his planned line-up, Town having started in a 4-3-3 formation at Vicarage Road before quickly switching system.

“We set up that way, but we went to 4-4-2 at Watford because they were playing 4-4-2 so we adjusted immediately. We’d set up for something else, and it worked.”

McCarthy has confirmed that Bartosz Bialkowski will keep his place in goal, while Zeki Fryers will make his debut at left-back.

Skipper Luke Chambers will be at right-back with Christophe Berra and Tommy Smith at the centre of the defence.

The Town manager seems likely to start with a four-man midfield with Teddy Bishop perhaps partnering Cole Skuse in the centre in the probable absence of Kevin Bru due to his calf injury.

Jay Tabb, another alternative in the centre, will probably start on the left with Paul Anderson or perhaps Richard Chaplow on the right. Jonny Parr seems set to miss out with his hamstring problem.

Up front, 23-goal Championship top scorer Daryl Murphy will be partnered by one of Luke Varney, who has impressed in recent games, Freddie Sears, instrumental in creating Chaplow’s winner against the Hornets, or Chris Wood, who returned from international duty in South Korea with New Zealand on Wednesday afternoon having been unfortunate to see a goal ruled out in a 1-0 defeat.

New re-signing Jonny Williams and David McGoldrick, who is available again after his thigh injury, are likely to be on the bench with McCarthy feeling they’re not yet able to play a full half, let alone a whole match.

“They’re not at full tilt,” he said. “If you asked me if I’d change it and put Jonny Williams and Didz on at half-time that would be a big ask for those two, especially at the level of game it’s going to be, the standard that it’ll be and the pace it’ll be.

“But could they have a cameo role? Yes, they could and that’s what might be required at some stage of the game. It’s lovely to have those guys around.”

While Bournemouth are expected to be without Wilson, Kenwyne Jones has signed on loan from Cardiff City. However, the Trinidad and Tobago international seems likely to be a sub.

Cherries manager Howe is not one to dismiss the Blues as a long-ball side.

“All teams reflect their manager, one way or the other. Mick’s hallmarks are hard work and honesty but that is not to say they can’t play," he told the Bournemouth Echo.

“They’ve got some very good footballers and you don’t get to where they are in the league through luck and just hard work. You have to have ability as well and they do.

“They are a tough team to beat and that is full credit to Mick and his staff. We know we are going to have to produce an even better performance than we did against Middlesbrough [when they won 3-0] to stand any chance of beating them.”

He added: “When you look at the gap, one or two victories and they are back in the hunt for the top two. They’ve had a very good season.

“They are very well organised and any team that beats Ipswich has performed very well and that is the hallmark of a good team so we know it is going to be a really difficult game for us and, potentially, a pivotal game.”

Bournemouth midfielder Harry Arter made a couple of appearances for the Town reserves in 2009 while on trial at Portman Road, while David McGoldrick spent three months on loan with the Cherries at the end of the 2006/07 season, scoring six goals in 12 games.

Overall, Town have won 14 (10 in the league) games between the sides, the Cherries 11 (11), while 11 (nine) have been draws. Bournemouth are currently unbeaten in their last six matches.

In November at the Goldsands Stadium, Teddy Bishop and Daryl Murphy were on target as Town twice came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw.

Yann Kermorgant put the Cherries in front with a spectacular second-minute overhead kick, Bishop equalised with his first senior goal five minutes after the break, Matt Ritchie restored the home side’s lead four minutes later and Murphy levelled in the 76th minute.

In April last year at Portman Road, Paul Anderson and Paul Green were on target as the sides drew 2-2.

Anderson put the home side in front on 36 but the Cherries hit back via Steve Cook's overhead kick just before the break.

Loanee Green's first Blues goal restored the lead on 56 but Ritchie's deflected freekick gained a point for the Cherries.

Prior to the match the club are staging a variety of activities for children on the FieldTurf behind the East of England Co-op Stand.

Those buying season tickets are reminded that the deadline for early bird renewals is 5.15pm.

Abellio are operating four additional rail services following the game, details here.

Today’s referee is Robert Madley from West Yorkshire, who has shown 77 yellow cards and five red in 24 games so far this season.

Madley’s only previous Town game was the 1-0 win at home to Blackpool in February 2013 in which he booked only Guirane N’Daw.

Squad from: Bialkowski, Gerken, Chambers (c), Fryers, Berra, Smith, Clarke, Skuse, Bishop, Tabb, Anderson, S Hunt, Chaplow, Williams, Murphy, Varney, Sears, Wood, McGoldrick.

Photo: Action Images

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northernblues added 06:59 - Apr 3
As a town its population is 40'000 more than Ipswich and they've spent far more than we have, so I don't buy into this little old Bournemouth!

Radlett_blue added 08:01 - Apr 3
Oh, dear...looks like we're playing Barcelona - again!

flashblue added 08:01 - Apr 3
Phil, do you think that Bru's injury is a bluff? My immediate reaction was it was so he could avoid the international.

GiveusaWave added 08:02 - Apr 3
People were really impressed with Arters games for Ipswich, and Magilton was really keen to sign him.

Problem was that Magilton only had another 8-10 weeks in the job before he was replaced by Roy Keane. Can't imagine that financing his signings would have been easy as money was probably being saved for the new manager.

Sad really. Arter played superbly and would have been a significant signing. Well done to Magilton for having him on trial in the first place.

wychyblue added 08:02 - Apr 3
What happened to this Financial Fair Play business. Thought it was intended to stop teams with limited 'income' ie gates of 12000 from going to the wall. Where does their money come from ?????

BlueMachines added 09:04 - Apr 3
Read the story. Sell on clause from Lallana accounts for some if the cash.

buddsterblue added 09:32 - Apr 3
Just been on Bournemouth message board they really fancy themselves, they may be having a good season but for Christ sake calm down most the country don't even know the name of your ground, really pissing me off hope we stuff em by 6,

Ipswichbusiness added 09:48 - Apr 3
Good to know that Bishop is in, sorry that Williams will play no more than a bit part.

brittaniaman added 09:50 - Apr 3
YES ! But surely they did not get several million pounds for the sell on clause of Lallana to cover the buys of Rantie and Wilson ?????

PhilTWTD added 10:09 - Apr 3

They got £5.75m from the Lallana deal. Also sold Grabban for £3m.


Think it is probably genuine. He evidently couldn't keep up with his dog when he was walking him last Sunday!

Sparky85 added 10:14 - Apr 3
That squad reads very well now, add Ambrose, Bru, Parr and Mings and its top draw! Good to have options available for the last 7 games. I think where we are on Monday eve will define what the last few games are for, playoffs or top 2. Today is massive!
Good luck lads!

mojo added 10:43 - Apr 3
Is Mick playing ming games? Best team in the league? It is so tight it is changing week by week. They are certainly not a cut above. We need to watch out for those overhead kicks though.

jas0999 added 10:54 - Apr 3
People seem to forget that we sold Cresswell. The difference being Bournemouth spent the money they received for deals. On fees. Rightly so. We invested in frees and loans. We have done well considering. It's different transfer policies, the end of the season will dictate who's policy was better. Of course in reality, both could be!

TimmyH added 12:09 - Apr 3
Should be a really interesting game of the league teams do generally tend to slip up and lets hope that is the case today.

Don't mean to be negative the way Mick talks about a majority of teams to the media but you'd think they'd all at least be in the play-offs but saying that believe Bournemouth are one of the better footballing sides in this division.

Seasider added 12:41 - Apr 3
JAS from figures given out at shareholders meetings,have just kept within FFP so no surplus funds,although I seem to recall in some previous years Marcus was taking out a fair bit in interest.
Think though that through Managers prudent operations, especially in the loan market,we now have a strong and experienced squad which is quite capable of getting a win later today.
After remarks attributed to their fans on Harry's report,I am more than 'up for it' similar to Norwich game;but look how that ended up.
I feel sure though that our lads,unlike against Norwich,will be fired up for this game..Interesting to see how a few days off compare to training camp in Dubai.Mr Howe obviously getting his players used to being a Premier League team lol!!!
Mick only needs to show his team the remarks from their fans,together with a collage of ITFC winning Football League,FA Cup;and UEFA Cup.
I said 25k should be there in view of importance of this fixture whilst estimates say 23000.Hope its the former and we roar the Town onto victory and show their upstart fans what its like to be a 'big club'.

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