BOSS Eddie Howe has tasked his players with trying to “impose themselves” on Danny Ings and Sam Vokes as Cherries bid to nullify the most potent strikeforce in the Championship.
Ings and Vokes, both signed by Howe during his time as manager at Burnley, have netted 40 goals between them to keep the Clarets firmly in the hunt for automatic promotion.
The two former Cherries apprentices will be looking to maintain their rich vein of form when second-placed Burnley face Howe’s team at Dean Court tomorrow (3pm).
Ings has plundered 24 goals this season, while Vokes registered his 16th to secure a 1-0 win at Bolton on Tuesday. One or the other – or both – have scored in no fewer than 22 of Burnley’s 30 league games.
Howe, who spent 21 months in the Turf Moor hot-seat before returning to Dean Court in October 2012, told the Daily Echo: “They both have obvious strengths and are completely different players, which is why they have formed such a good partnership. In the main, I thought we did well against them in the reverse fixture and then Danny popped up with a good finish at the end to deny us the win.
“We will have a plan in place to try to deal with them. But as they have shown this season, I am sure many other clubs and managers have tried to do the same. We have to back ourselves as players and hope we can impose ourselves on them.
“They have both done outstandingly well and, when you have goals in your team, it gives everybody confidence and they have led the line very well for them. Burnley will be in the mix come the end of the season. They have been able to keep a pretty settled team for much of the season and that has been a real strength. Everyone knows their job and they work incredibly hard for each other.”
Howe, who said he had no fresh injury concerns ahead of the clash, would have been encouraged by Cherries’ comeback at the Reebok where his own strikers were pivotal in clawing back a two-goal deficit.
“The mental strength we showed to come back was a really good sign for the future,” said Howe. “We were able to show the quality to keep the ball and really frustrate Bolton for long periods. It was perhaps a game we would have lost at the start of season so that was another positive for us.
“We are in the middle of a tough spell of games. Playing Leicester, Burnley and Derby in close succession is a really good test to see how strong we could become in the future.
“The beauty of our strikeforce is that we have different players with different strengths. We started with Lewis Grabban on his own at Bolton and he did very well again. Then, we were able to change it and bring on a bit more physicality with Yann (Kermorgant) and real pace with Tokelo (Rantie). It is great to have those options available to select at the right time and against certain oppositions. We will have a look at Burnley and see what is best against them.”