GOALSCORER Tommy Elphick claimed Cherries’ desire to prove themselves as a Championship force was bigger than the carrot of facing Liverpool when putting Burton Albion to the sword.
Elphick tucked away his first goal of the season on the stroke of half-time as Cherries dominated their FA Cup third-round clash against the Brewers on Tuesday.
Brett Pitman’s early strike was cancelled out by Jimmy Phillips’s deflected effort before Cherries eventually sealed their 4-1 victory through Ryan Fraser and Pitman in the last five minutes.
Success in the rearranged tie secured a Dean Court date with Premier League giants Liverpool, the club many Cherries players – including Elphick – supported as boys.
But despite the lure of playing against Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, Elphick was adamant that Cherries were focused on stamping their authority on the League Two outfit.
On the influence of the Liverpool tie, Elphick told the Daily Echo: “It was great motivation and there was a lot on the line. Financially, it was a big reward for the club and the players knew all about that.
“But more than anything, we wanted to prove that we were the Championship team playing against a League Two side.
“This club was at that level for a long time and everyone has worked so hard to get to where we are now. We have moved up and want to make our mark and you only do that by putting to bed teams like Burton.
“We knew they would sit in and try to park the bus so it took us a bit longer to get as clear as we wanted, but in the end it was pretty comprehensive.
“The club has come so far over the past 18 months and we want to establish ourselves as a proper Championship team. We are building a reputation for ourselves and the Liverpool game will be a great occasion.
“As players, it will be good for us because we are a young, progressive squad and it will be good to see how far we are away from the top level.
“Liverpool are in great form at the moment and it will be an exciting day for the players and supporters to have some of the world’s biggest stars here.
“I think they are one of the most entertaining teams in England at the moment. They have a great philosophy, a great manager and one of the best players in the world in Luis Suarez. It will be good for the fans and, hopefully, it will be a sell out.”