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Cherries: The right door is opening for award nominee Ritchie
7:08am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Sport
MATT Ritchie admits he is champing at the bit to start lending his support to Cherries’ promotion push from his favoured position on the right wing.
Ritchie, who has been shortlisted for the League One player-of-the-year award, has featured predominantly at left-back since joining Cherries from Swindon in January.
And while the 23-year-old has proved an able deputy in the absence of Charlie Daniels, Ritchie is keen to showcase his talents in a more advanced role during Cherries’ run-in.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Bury, Ritchie told the Daily Echo: “We didn’t have a left-back when I came in and I was happy to play there. I just want to be on the pitch. Hopefully, I will get a chance to play on the wing now Charlie is back.
“I am looking forward to doing my stuff and trying to help the team on the right-hand side. One of my attributes is crossing so, hopefully, I can get them in for the strikers and they can score and I can get one or two myself. We are back on track now and have got seven winnable games. We want to kick on and see where it takes us.”
Ritchie, who netted nine times for Swindon this season, has experienced fluctuating fortunes since completing a £500,000 move from Cherries’ promotion rivals, appearing in five wins and five defeats.
“I have enjoyed it and haven’t had any second thoughts at all,” added Ritchie. “I feel my performances haven’t been as good as they could but I have been out of position and getting used to playing at left-back.
“There were things going on behind the scenes at Swindon that we didn’t really know about and it was a little unstable. I had the opportunity to come to Bournemouth and we have a very good squad here.
“I am looking forward to the last seven games of the season and, hopefully, helping us go up. If it doesn’t happen, I will look forward to knuckling down and trying to have another successful season.”
Ritchie played a starring role last season and was named League Two’s player of the year as Swindon romped to the title.
He will discover in London on Sunday whether he has received the majority vote from |managers after being nominated alongside Notts County’s Alan Judge and Leon Clarke from Coventry.
“I was delighted to be nominated, if a little surprised,” said Ritchie. “It is great to get the recognition but it is a team game. I couldn’t have put in good performances without my team-mates.”
Ritchie saw off Olympians Pete Reed and Andrew Nicholson to scoop the Swindon Advertiser sportsman-of-the-year award for 2012.