BOSS Eddie Howe has revealed that he intends to rotate his squad in a bid to keep Cherries’ promotion bid on track over the gruelling festive period.
The Cherries manager is vowing to hand a chance to some of his fringe players as he aims to maintain his team’s fine form in the weeks ahead.
Cherries will today face Crewe at Gresty Road in the first in a series of five potentially crucial matches in the space of a hectic 15 days.
Howe has around 22 senior players to select from as Cherries look to safely negotiate their way through a testing schedule.
And he is promising to ensure he keeps his men in peak condition as they attempt to stretch their 13-match unbeaten run.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “I think it is difficult for the players.
“Just purely from a physical perspective, it is a tough schedule. You get very little rest and recovery in between games.
“We are certainly going to need the squad in the coming weeks – there is no doubt about that.
“It will be a good chance for the people who haven’t had a lot of football to come in.
“We have also done a lot of travelling lately and we go to Crewe today, which is a long journey, so that doesn’t particularly help us.
“But it is nice to be at home on the 26th and 29th. I think they are going to be pivotal games for us in this run.
“If you can get your home form right, it makes the away games slightly easier.”
After facing Crewe, Cherries have back-to-back home matches when Yeovil Town and Crawley visit Dean Court on Boxing Day and December 29.
Those games will be followed by a tough trip to promotion rivals Brentford on New Year’s Day, before the FA Cup third round tie at Wigan.
Howe says he will ensure his players get as much recuperation as possible and says they will not be overworked on the training field.
He added: “You can’t work the players as hard as you would like to between games. At this stage of the year, it is really just a case of rest and recovery.
“You would like to think that the fitness work you have put in place during pre-season and the early parts of the season would then come to the fore for you.
“It will be very much a case of having to tailor the training to the games and make sure that the lads are fresh enough to play and perform when needed.”