Cherries: Francis has a point to prove to former club Blades

First published in Sport Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author by

SIMON Francis is determined to show Sheffield United he is in his prime as he admits his Blades background still holds disappointing memories.

The Cherries star is set to make his 36th start of the season when his former employers visit Dorset in this afternoon’s League One showdown (3pm).

Right-back Francis has extra motivation to perform in the Dean Court clash as he endured a tough time during his spell at Bramall Lane.

The Nottingham-born defender joined the Blades from Bradford City in a £200,000 move in 2004 but went on to make just 15 appearances.

After suffering injury setbacks, Francis found himself loaned to Grimsby and Tranmere before making a successful switch to Southend.

He told the Daily Echo: “It will be a massive game and one that we have really got to try to get a win out of.

“It has been a long time since I was there and I have definitely learned a lot.

“I have got a lot more mature. I feel I have definitely grown – as a player and a person.”

Having turned 28 last week, Francis is hopeful of giving Cherries the best years of his career as they chase a place in the Championship.

He said: “When you are younger, you are probably focusing on different things, outside of football, in your life and when you are past 30, you are kind of looking at the side after football.

“That is why 26-30 is the prime age when you should be playing your best football and, mentally, you should be right.

“I am definitely at that stage of my career now and I want to kick on, especially with Bournemouth.”

Reflecting on his time at Bramall Lane, Francis added: “It was disappointing, mainly on my part.

“I started off fine but got an injury early on in my career there and it set me back. I got another injury after that and was out for a whole season.

“Things had changed, they had brought in other players and it was tough to get back into a team that was doing so well – they were pushing for promotion to the Premier League at the time.

“I went out on loan to a couple of teams, got quite a few games under my belt and it just wasn’t the same. I was disappointed with how it went because it was a massive club, the fans were brilliant and I would have liked to have stayed there longer.”

Cherries, who were knocked off top spot by Swindon in midweek, are one of seven teams separated by just four points in the push for promotion.

Fourth-placed Sheffield United trail second-placed Cherries by a point with one game in hand.

Comments (8)

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8:26am Sat 23 Feb 13

West moors 1 says...

You have nothing to prove to us, we know you are a quality player and along with so many others in our team, a contender for our player of the season. Good luck for today. Up the cherries!
You have nothing to prove to us, we know you are a quality player and along with so many others in our team, a contender for our player of the season. Good luck for today. Up the cherries! West moors 1
  • Score: 0

8:59am Sat 23 Feb 13

jontee says...

Just don't get injured !
Just don't get injured ! jontee
  • Score: 0

9:51am Sat 23 Feb 13

Afcbpete says...

You've been outstanding Simon. Keep up the good work... Good Luck for today. UTCIAD
You've been outstanding Simon. Keep up the good work... Good Luck for today. UTCIAD Afcbpete
  • Score: 0

11:13am Sat 23 Feb 13

CherryFarmer says...

Sheffield must have been mad to let you go. Always been very consistent for us, real quality and will comfortably be at home in a higher league (hopefully with us). He can do what most full backs cant do.....he can deliver quality crosses. As West Moors says, a real contender for player of the year. Good luck for today. UTCIAD
Sheffield must have been mad to let you go. Always been very consistent for us, real quality and will comfortably be at home in a higher league (hopefully with us). He can do what most full backs cant do.....he can deliver quality crosses. As West Moors says, a real contender for player of the year. Good luck for today. UTCIAD CherryFarmer
  • Score: 0

11:54am Sat 23 Feb 13

STEADY EDDIE 1 for the road says...

West moors 1 wrote:
You have nothing to prove to us, we know you are a quality player and along with so many others in our team, a contender for our player of the season. Good luck for today. Up the cherries!
Gets my vote
[quote][p][bold]West moors 1[/bold] wrote: You have nothing to prove to us, we know you are a quality player and along with so many others in our team, a contender for our player of the season. Good luck for today. Up the cherries![/p][/quote]Gets my vote STEADY EDDIE 1 for the road
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Sat 23 Feb 13

Talkingheadera says...

I would think Charlie Daniels or Harry arter would be ahead in player of season voting but he has certainly played well enough to be in contention.
My vote would have gone to Daniels
I would think Charlie Daniels or Harry arter would be ahead in player of season voting but he has certainly played well enough to be in contention. My vote would have gone to Daniels Talkingheadera
  • Score: 0

1:46pm Sat 23 Feb 13

Wilkie says...

Cherryfarmer, it's simon's crossing that needs some work as he's been a little below par in this area of late.
Cherryfarmer, it's simon's crossing that needs some work as he's been a little below par in this area of late. Wilkie
  • Score: 0

6:29pm Sat 23 Feb 13

jakeysredd says...

Same old story, big game time then fail to deliver, one shot on goal in the first 15 minutes, then nothing, so we have have Coventry on tuesday who lost today, Its going to be another tough game, too many players not on it again, why bother with loan players when Ritchie was doing a fine temp job at left back,
Same old story, big game time then fail to deliver, one shot on goal in the first 15 minutes, then nothing, so we have have Coventry on tuesday who lost today, Its going to be another tough game, too many players not on it again, why bother with loan players when Ritchie was doing a fine temp job at left back, jakeysredd
  • Score: 0

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