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AFC Bournemouth: Marathon man Francis ready to go the distance
MARATHON man Simon Francis is vowing to see off any potential challengers to his position as he looks to go the distance with Cherries.
The dependable right-back knows Eddie Howe may look to draft in reinforcements to keep his team competitive during the second half of the season.
And while Francis may have firmly established himself as a regular under the Cherries boss, he is also aware there is no room for complacency.
An exemplary attendance record has seen Francis miss only three games - starting and finishing 106 out of 109 - after making his Cherries debut in an FA Cup clash against Gillingham in November 2011.
Francis, who is in line to make his 59th consecutive appearance at Wigan tomorrow, told the Daily Echo: “Although there is probably not another natural right-back waiting to play, there are players who could step in if I wasn't performing and I don't think the manager would hesitate to do that. You have to be ruthless as a manager and I wouldn't expect anything different.
“We haven't got the biggest squad in the league and I think the manager will be looking to strengthen in the window. We want to go as high as we can and we have to have a big squad to do that. You need to be able to rotate and players who come need to be equally as good as the ones who are starting.
“Although we have a lot of ability in the team, you have to have strength in depth in the Championship. If the manager brings in another right-back then so be it. I will just have to keep working hard and try to keep the shirt. All I can do is perform to my best in every game.”
Francis, who initially joined Cherries on loan from Charlton, took his place on the bench and was an unused sub during a 6-0 defeat at Brentford in the JPT just hours after he had signed.
He then made 40 consecutive appearances before injury ruled him out against Swindon and Walsall in September 2012. He last missed a game some 14 months ago and has never been suspended during his time at the club.
The 28-year-old added: “I have been fortunate enough to play every game this season and have enjoyed it. There is an element of luck but I would like to think I live correctly off the pitch which, as you get older, you have to do more.
“When I was 18 or 19, I could probably eat what I wanted and maybe train how I wanted. I was relatively fortunate with injuries then. Now though, if you don't do it right off the pitch then you are going to suffer. I work before and after training and try to eat correctly. That has definitely played a big part.”
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