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AFC Bournemouth: Fans' backing can be deciding factor says Howe
Howe hailed Cherries’ travel-ling contingent at QPR as almost 1,500 fans made the trip to Loftus Road to back the Dorset outfit during the 3-0 defeat on Tuesday.
And with 19th-placed Cherries bidding to halt a seven-match winless run against another of the division’s promotion favourites, Howe has issued a rallying cry.
Speaking ahead of the trip to Reading tomorrow (3pm), Howe told the Daily Echo: “I thought the supporters were absolutely brilliant (on Tuesday) and I can’t thank them enough for their reaction after the game and for their support during the game.
“You could hear it and they made a big difference to the feelings of the players afterwards. We absolutely need the supporters with us throughout this difficult season, which we always knew it was going to be. That could be the defining factor.
“Their backing is going to be key in the coming weeks and months and we need their under-standing. I know that the people who come here week in, week out have been exceptional ever since I have been involved with the club.
“We have just got to be careful that expectations don’t exceed reality. My key message to supporters is to not change and to stick with the team, which they have always done.”
Cherries have registered one victory in their past 11 games, seven of which have been against teams in the top half, while the sequence has also included trips to promotion contenders Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Leicester, Burnley and QPR.
Life in the second tier will get no easier when Cherries travel to the Madejski Stadium – where Reading are unbeaten in the league this term.
Howe added: “Despite the fact we have been in this really tough spell of games, I think we have been in every game and we have been very competitive.
“When you look at the away games against Burnley, Forest and Leicester, those games were very tight and there was not a lot between the sides. Despite the scoreline at QPR on Tuesday, I felt we were well in that game.
“I have probably been happier with the away performances, bar Brighton where I thought we did well. Away from home, I think we have been very competitive and we have been unfortunate not to pick up more points.”
Howe confirmed that illness and treatment in Rome had led to Lewis Grabban missing the 1-1 draw against Brighton and being utilised from the bench at QPR.
Grabban is likely to be in contention for a start at Reading, while Tokelo Rantie is another option after being introduced as a substitute at Loftus Road.
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