MANAGER Eddie Howe believes squad rotation is the way forward and says he feels it has been a major factor in Cherries’ recent purple patch.
Howe has fully utilised his resources to help cope during a gruelling month which has seen Cherries play no fewer than seven games in 25 days.
While goalkeeper Lee Camp and the back four have remained a constant, a number of changes have been made both in midfield and attacking positions.
And with Cherries having climbed seven places to 10th thanks to five wins and a draw during a fruitful March, the policy has paid handsome dividends.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “People will think you are weakening the team and playing around too much. If it doesn’t work and you don’t get positive results then you will be criticised for tinkering too much. If it works, people will say it is good management. For me, there is no definitive answer, right or wrong.
“We have looked at the squad and spoken to the players. We have tried to keep things fresh and tried to rotate the players we think we can. We have been reluctant to tamper with the back four because they have been in really good form and have kept a number of clean sheets which breeds confidence.
“But as we have such a good squad and such good players, I think we can do it and it is beneficial. Players have come out of the team and it has not been weakened in any way. I think this is the way we will do it going forward because you want to give people opportunities to come in and perform and you can’t rely on the same players for 55 games a season.
“If the same players aren’t playing every week, they will get more disillusioned than with the odd rotation here and there.
“It is important everyone feels part of it and know they have a chance of playing. I think it is very healthy, providing you get the balance right.”
Howe could again make changes when Cherries bid to maintain their late surge for the play-offs by registering a sixth win in eight at Birmingham tomorrow (3pm).
Discussing the trip to St Andrew’s, Howe said: “They have had well-documented financial troubles this year and have had to scale down their squad. They have made good use of the loan market and still have a couple of players from their Premier League era so have a strong squad.
“They have managed to grind out some good results on their travels and are a tough nut to crack as we found here where we felt we dominated the game but lost 2-0. They are not short on experience and that makes it a dangerous game for us.”