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AFC Bournemouth's Camp: Cherries not far from play-off standard
GOALKEEPER Lee Camp believes some minor fine tuning can see Cherries follow in the footsteps of his former clubs and become Championship play-off contenders.
Four wins and five clean sheets in Cherries’ past six league fixtures put an end to any lingering relegation fears and has prompted talk of a late surge for the top six in the more optimistic quarters at Dean Court.
Speaking after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Barnsley, manager Eddie Howe admitted gate-crashing the end of season lottery would be a “big ask”.
But having been a regular when Derby County made the play-offs nine years ago before securing back-to-back top-six finishes with Nottingham Forest in 2010 and 2011, Camp feels his current club could be on the brink of their own charge for the Premier League.
Speaking ahead of tonight’s home clash against Leeds United (7.45pm), Camp told the Daily Echo: “The team is progressing well after that period of transition which all teams tend to have coming into a fiercely competitive league like the Championship.
“In some of the games where we had played well, we conceded some silly goals but our ball retention has helped with that. It is all coming together nicely.
“This season has been a learning curve for the younger players, especially in the back four and in certain games we haven’t had the run of the ball.
“I have been involved with teams at both ends of this division and teams that have done well have always been based on a strong defensive unit with players that can change a game at the sharp end.
“If you’re going to be successful at this level, it’s about being solid first and striking a balance.
“We have to accept, with the way we play, that we will be susceptible to the odd counter-attack and, perhaps, we do leave ourselves a little bit open by attacking in the manner that we do.
“But I have never played in a side that has been able to dominate possession and create the kind of chances we do.
"It’s tough to find that balance between getting at teams like we know we can and defending well but recent results have proved we are capable of winning matches in different ways.
“All the great teams strive for that and there is a real belief among the boys that we’re not far away now.”
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