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AFC Bournemouth: Advice from Fletch aids Elphick's tall order
SKIPPER Tommy Elphick is confident Cherries are equipped to deal with the threat of Nikola Zigic – one of the tallest players in the world.
Elphick is set to pit his wits against the giant Serb when Cherries host Championship rivals Birmingham City at Dean Court tomorrow (3pm).
The enigmatic striker, who stands 6ft 8ins, has been instrumental in the Blues’ recent revival, netting twice in their five-match unbeaten run.
Zigic penned a lucrative four-year deal when he joined Birmingham from Valencia in 2010 and is the club’s top earner – reputedly on around £50,000 a week.
Elphick celebrated his first Championship win as Cherries captain at Reading six days ago and will be bidding to bridge a six-inch height difference against Zigic.
He told the Daily Echo: “Zigic was their marquee signing a few years ago so he comes with a big reputation. He has done well this season and is definitely a threat.
“You have to make allowances for him just because of his size and, from the reports we have had, he seems to be a focal point to their attacking options and a lot goes through him.
“We are fortunate to have had Steve Fletcher on our side so we know how to utilise someone like that. He will give us some input into what big strikers don’t like and, hopefully, we can use that to our advantage.
“Tall strikers often get tagged with only being dangerous in the air and some are more dangerous when the ball is at their feet.
"It is important we don’t just concentrate on his aerial ability because second balls and runners are going to be a big part so there is a lot to think about.
“It is always a tough and physical battle against these players but I would rather mark a big one than a little nippy one so, hopefully, it should bring out my strengths.
"But we can’t get too wrapped up in what Zigic is about and we need to concentrate on what we do best.”
Elphick, who made his eighth Championship start against Reading, added: “Birmingham are another club with a massive reputation and are probably a sleeping giant at the moment.
"Although they are below us in the table, they come with a big reputation, big players and a huge fan-base.
“As we have seen in the past few weeks, anyone is capable of beating anyone in the Championship.
"They are going to be high on confidence after putting together a five-game unbeaten run and that is something we need to aim for over the Christmas period.”
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