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AFC Bournemouth captain Elphick: Belief can take Cherries a long way
SKIPPER Tommy Elphick insists the unshakable belief which led Cherries to a remarkable 2013 can provide the catalyst for success over the next year.
The centre-half declared himself pleased with Cherries’ progress in the Championship and backed the club’s less experienced stars to follow in the footsteps of players who have adjusted following promotion from League One.
Cherries hope to build on their historic year with success in back-to-back home matches against Yeovil Town on Boxing Day (3pm) and Ipswich Town on Sunday (3pm).
The Dean Court date with the Glovers is a repeat of last season’s festive showdown which Cherries won 3-0 during the surge towards promotion masterminded by returning boss Eddie Howe.
Both Cherries and Yeovil went on to embark on unstoppable runs of form in the new year, resulting in promotion for both clubs.
And with the Huish Park outfit again appearing on the Christmas fixture card, Elphick reckons the steadfast mentality which sec-ured a place in the Championship can keep Cherries forging ahead during the next 12 months.
Elphick told the Daily Echo: “It has definitely been one of the best years you could envisage for the club. We put together some good form in League One and while we had a bit of a rocky patch, personally, I never lost faith when we were not winning.
“I looked at the squad every day and the results just did not reflect what we were about and what we had on our side.
“When the gaffer came back in, he got us organised and gave us a direction and once we had hold of that, we were never going to let it go. Even when we lost five in a row, the principles remained the same.
“That togetherness and united front stood us in good stead then and still does at this level now. When we go through rough spells, the belief stays the same and that can take you a long way.”
Club captain Elphick also believes Cherries’ players have shown enough to prove they belong at their new level, even if they initially took time to adjust.
He added: “Looking back to when I started in League One, a lot of the players who progressed to the Championship with different clubs have managed to stay there and the first six months have been a good sign for us.
“We have given ourselves a nice eight-point cushion (over the relegation places) and we are just nine off the play-offs. If you had presented us with that at the start of the season, we would have taken it.
“A few people questioned our physical side to start with but winning at places like Sheffield Wednesday and Reading have put those doubts to bed.
“As long as we keep learning from every game, the players here can be confident of a good future at this level.”
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