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AFC Bournemouth: We must impose ourselves on Forest says Ward
ELLIOTT Ward insists Cherries must try to impose themselves on Nottingham Forest as they bid to silence the City Ground roar and dethrone ‘King’ Billy.
Defender Ward had been widely tipped to join Forest in the summer after impressing during two loan spells last season when he netted three times in 31 appearances.
But the 28-year-old opted instead to commit himself to Cherries after revealing boss Eddie Howe had sold the club’s vision to him and compiled a personalised DVD.
Ward, signed initially by Sean O’Driscoll at the start of last season, played a starring role in Forest’s revival under Billy Davies who returned to the City Ground for a second spell in February.
Defeat by Leicester on the final day of the season – when Ward scored in a 3-2 reverse – saw them pipped for a play-off place by a solitary point before Davies – known as King Billy by the Forest faithful – then lost out in the race to sign the linchpin defender.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Echo, Ward, speaking ahead of Cherries’ trip to the City Ground, said: “It was the first fixture I looked for, especially after what happened last season and with their interest over the summer. It will be nice to go back to see some familiar faces.
“The City Ground is a tough place for an away team when things are going well for Forest. You could see that at the end of last season when we went 10 games unbeaten. The place was rocking, Billy was back in town, and the team was doing well. We will need to play our own way and not get sucked into that.
“Once Billy came back, we picked up and just missed out on the play-offs. His impact really pushed us on and he drove us forward, especially me. He lets you know exactly what he wants from you every day. You have a job to do and need to do it. If you don’t, he will let you know.
“He can be calm as well and would have a joke at times. But after he had come in, he needed to drive us, keep us on our toes and keep the momentum going and he certainly did that. Every day he would make sure he got the most out of you.”
Asked what sort of reception he anticipated from the home supporters, Ward replied: “They were very good to me and a lot of them sent me messages saying they wished I had signed for them. I felt like I had a good relationship with them and enjoyed playing in front of them.
“You always hope you will get a nice reception but you never know in football, especially if we do well as a team. It will be nice to go back and see everybody but, ultimately, I am going there as a Bournemouth player and will be trying to help us get a positive result.”
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