AFC Bournemouth: Ward relishing Holt battle (PLUS EDDIE HOWE VIDEO INTERVIEW) (From Bournemouth Echo)
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AFC Bournemouth: Elliott Ward relishing battle with ex-Norwich City team-mate Grant Holt
ELLIOTT Ward is steeling himself for an intriguing personal battle with former Norwich team-mate Grant Holt, a striker he describes as “one of the most underrated in the country”.
Defender Ward is expected to come face to face with Wigan's high-profile new signing when Cherries host their Championship rivals at Dean Court on Saturday (3pm).
The pair were regulars as Norwich clinched promotion to the Premier League in 2011 and played together during the Canaries' first season in the top flight before going their separate ways in the summer.
Ward told the Daily Echo: “On his day, he is a real handful. He is good in the air, a good hold-up striker and much quicker than people think. His greatest quality is his ability to score goals.
“He is also a great leader. When we were together at Norwich, he did his job by scoring the goals and made sure the team was ticking behind him.
“If we are both on the pitch, it will be interesting and a good test. A lot will depend on formations and how the game goes but I will do the things I think will be right and I am sure he will be thinking about me as well.
“One of the closest players to Holty in this division is Troy Deeney so you don't need to look any further than last week to see what we are going to be up against. But he is not their only threat and we will have to be aware of everyone else as well.”
Asked about his experiences of facing Holt in training, Ward replied: “He was up there with the worse trainers I have ever come across. He would have flashes and you always knew what he was about. He would get through training and get what he needed out of it.
“But he is so different on match days when he definitely comes alive. There is a lot more to his game than people think. In games, he is your main man and the one you play to and play through. He is a different man in a game but I have definitely seen better trainers!”
Ward made his Cherries debut in the opening day victory over Charlton and also featured as Eddie Howe's men suffered a 6-1 defeat at Watford five days ago.
The 28-year-old added: “We did really well as a team in the first game. We had a little setback when they scored but came on strong again and were quite comfortable winners.
“We did very well for much of the first half at Watford and it just shows how quickly a game can change when things don't go right for you. But we caused most of those problems ourselves and that was disappointing. They scored six but didn't really have to work too hard for the goals.
“It is something we need to put right and we have been working on it this week. But we also need to remember what we did in the first half because there were some massive positives for us.”
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