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AFC Bournemouth: Eddie Howe calls for festive run from his players
BOSS Eddie Howe has delivered a pre-Christmas message to his players and tasked them with establishing some consistency over the festive period.
Howe’s men, buoyed by a 2-1 win at Reading six days ago, will be bidding to register back-to-back Championship victories for the first time when they host Birmingham tomorrow.
“We have had a good week’s training on the back of an excellent result which has given everyone a lift,” said Howe. “My message to the players has been that it is very much a case of one result in isolation. We need to back it up now with a consistent run.
“That is what we will be looking to achieve. It is incredibly tough but that is what we have to focus on during the next run of games.
“Our challenge is to try to find that consistency because I think we have shown we can perform really well in one-off games. I thought we were unfortunate at QPR where we played very well without getting our rewards.”
Asked whether he would consider changing a winning team or formation against the Blues, Howe replied: “I never get too fixated with systems and formations because it is very much about the players. If you look at the Reading game, everyone played to their maximum level and there wasn’t a player I could fault.
“They were terrific as a group and as a team, hence why we got the win. Regardless of what system or formation you put out, it is all about players performing to their best of their ability.
“I don’t think it matters whether it’s one or three up front because we asked our midfielders and wide men to support the front man at Reading so, depending on where the ball was, it could have been viewed as a more attacking system than playing two up front.
“Every team I have picked this season has been difficult because we have a good squad.
“When you win a game, players have put themselves in with a good shout of keeping their place but I think every game is different and you have to pick a team to win that particular game.”
Howe had no fresh injury concerns to report and said he felt the clash would come too soon for winger Mohamed Coulibaly who has returned to full training following a nagging Achilles problem.
Back-up goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan is hoping to recover from a thumb injury sustained in training, with Benji Buchel and Ryan Allsop on stand-by to deputise on the bench.
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