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Cherries: Howe hails 'Mr Motivator' Elphick
Howe insists the stand-in skipper possesses the credentials that could prove crucial as the heat of the battle intensifies over the coming months.
Elphick, who has helped Cherries claim four successive league clean sheets, has not missed a minute of game-time since Howe’s Dean Court return.
Captain in the absence of injured Miles Addison, the centre-half is also Cherries’ leading appearance-maker this season with 27 starts.
That impressive record comes on the back of the summer signing being sidelined for all of his last campaign with Brighton due to an Achilles injury.
“I have been pleased with how he has played and led, regardless of whether or not he has had the armband,” boss Howe told the Daily Echo.
“I have just been delighted with his attitude and commitment and how he conducts himself.
“He is a real motivator in the changing room and a real winner. He trains every day at a top level.”
Cherries are 17 matches unbeaten ahead of today’s home clash with Swindon (3pm).
Elphick has been a central figure in the Cherries defence which has not conceded a league goal in open play for 462 minutes.
Howe believes Cherries are benefiting from Elphick’s Brighton background. “I think it has been very helpful to us for Tommy to have had that schooling from Gus Poyet at Brighton,” added Howe.
“Tommy is a modern-day centre-half – a very good footballer but also, more importantly, a very good defender.”
Howe and Elphick yesterday missed out on the League One manager and player of the month awards, with Coventry’s Mark Robins and David McGoldrick scooping the December gongs.