AFC Bournemouth: Ipswich clash a good marker for Howe

Bournemouth Echo: BOSS: Eddie Howe BOSS: Eddie Howe

BOSS Eddie Howe believes the visit of high-flying Ipswich will provide Cherries with “a good marker” of their current form in the Championship.

The Tractor Boys, now in their 12th consecutive season in the second flight, will be bidding to extend to seven their unbeaten run when they face Cherries at Dean Court tomorrow (3pm).

Mick McCarthy’s men broke into the top six for the first time following their 3-0 win at Doncaster on Boxing Day before dropping to seventh after Leeds had claimed a point at Blackpool in the late kick off.

Striker David McGoldrick, who helped Cherries avoid relegation during a fruitful loan spell from Southampton in 2007, is Town’s top marksman with 11, including four in his past four games.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “Mick has done a good job. Ipswich have improved as the season has gone on and are getting some good results. They are consistent in their results and a visit from another established Championship club will be a good marker for where we are in our current form.

“I worked with David McGoldrick when he was here and you could see then he was a very talented boy. We tried to keep him at the time but he eventually ended up going to Nottingham Forest. He has always had an eye for goal and is technically very good so he will be a real threat.”

Victory over Yeovil on Boxing Day saw Cherries register back-to-back wins, while goalkeeper Lee Camp kept their first clean sheet for 14 games. Howe will be forced to make at least one change with Harry Arter ruled out due to a one-match suspension.

Howe added: “The defensive aspect of our game is something we have been working very hard on. We felt we had deserved a lot better in recent weeks because we hadn’t been doing a lot wrong.

“Against Yeovil, Lee probably had the most he has had to do in recent weeks but he kept a clean sheet. We were delighted and it is something we need to do more of.

“Although we will miss Harry, it is a chance for someone else. That is why you have a squad and why the players who aren’t playing are so important. Someone will get an opportunity to earn their place and show what they can do.”

Howe said defender Steve Cook, who has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, was improving but added he felt it was unlikely he would feature during the rest of the festive period.

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