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AFC Bournemouth: Skipper Tommy Elphick wary of sharp-shooter Jordan Rhodes
CLUB captain Tommy Elphick has warned Cherries there will be no margin for error when they go into battle with £8million man Jordan Rhodes.
Cherries’ defenders will be tasked with nullifying Rhodes when the highly-rated hotshot spearheads the Blackburn attack at Dean Court tomorrow (3pm).
The Scotland international, who already has six Championship goals to his name this season, is widely regarded as one of the leading strikers outside the top flight.
Having built a prolific reputation with Huddersfield, Rhodes penned a five-year contract with Rovers after moving to Ewood Park in a club-record transfer deal.
And Elphick, who will be hoping to keep his place following his recall at Middlesbrough, admits Cherries must be wary of the 23-year-old frontman.
He told the Daily Echo: “He has got a massive reputation and was sold for a massive fee. With that fee comes pressure and I think he is someone who is meeting it. He hasn’t let down anyone at Blackburn.
“His record speaks for itself so it is another massive challenge for whoever is playing and a challenge I am sure we will meet head on.
“I played against him quite a bit when he was at Huddersfield but not since he has been at Blackburn. We were talking about him the other day. He is one of those strikers who is not in the game for large periods but always seems to score.
“He is quite frustrating to play against because you feel like you have got him and when you start to feel like that, he pops up and scores one, two or three goals.
“You have to be on it and aware of him because he is always a threat.”
Asked about Rhodes, Cherries manager Eddie Howe said: “Someone with that goalscoring record is a proven, quality player.
“He knows where the goal is, he is a constant goal threat and someone we are going to need to play well against to stop scoring.
“He is a player who always seems to get chances and his finishing is very good. It is a big test for our centre-halves and a really good challenge to try to keep him quiet.”
Elphick will be keen to lock horns with Rhodes after returning to the starting line-up for the 3-3 draw at Middlesbrough last Saturday as boss Howe opted to select three central defenders.
And the skipper, who has been restricted to two starts and three substitute appearances in the league this term, believes flexibility could be key for Cherries.
Elphick added: “It was something new and if you can master it, it is a real string to your bow.
“It is a really good formation, especially with the ball, and I think we saw that last Saturday. If we can hit it off, I believe that it can be a real weapon for us.
“If you are only sticking to one formation, it can become predictable. You have to keep people guessing.”
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