TOMMY Elphick believes Cherries will need to win their final four games of the season to stand any chance of reaching the Championship play-offs.
Skipper Elphick reckons Eddie Howe’s men are in a four-way race for sixth place – with his former club Brighton, Ipswich and Reading their challengers.
Elphick gave his assessment of the play-off picture after Cherries had missed the chance to close the gap following a 1-1 draw at Yeovil on Saturday.
Ryan Fraser’s fortuitous second-half goal cancelled out Kieffer Moore’s opener for the Glovers as Cherries’ bid for a sixth successive win bit the dust at Huish Park.
Elphick told the Daily Echo: “It was probably two points dropped. But we can’t lose too much confidence because we came back from 1-0 down and were well on top towards the end. We need to take it on and try to get back to winning ways.
“I think it is going to take nothing less than four wins. Brighton won again and they have an easy enough run-in. They will be thinking they can win their four games.
“It is down to whoever can win their final four games and that is what it is going to take. Reading play their game in hand on Monday so, fingers crossed, Leicester will turn up this week.
“We are certainly still in there, although it may have been different had we lost especially with our goal difference. But there are still going to be lots of twists and turns and we just want to stay on the straight and narrow and get four wins.
“Nottingham Forest’s defeat at QPR may leave them with too much to do. Ipswich are right in there and it is in our hands to get above them. But we are reliant on Reading and Brighton dropping points.
“Whatever happens, we have to look back with a lot of pride at what we have done this season. It is a very tough league and, with four games to go, we would have given anything to be in the position we are in.
“We are there for a reason. We have a good squad and we can’t lose faith. We have to keep pushing and try to put four wins on the board.”
Cherries went behind when former Dorchester Town striker Moore netted with a stunning right-foot strike after the visitors had failed to fully clear a free kick.
“It was a disappointing goal to concede,” added Elphick. “We dealt with the first phase of the free kick but the second phase caught us out. People just switched off at the wrong time. Their player still had a lot to do and he had probably never struck one as sweetly as that so credit to him.”
Fraser, restored to the starting line-up at the expense of Marc Pugh, levelled when Byron Webster’s clearance struck him in the face before the ball looped over stranded Yeovil goalkeeper Marek Stech.
Elphick said: “It is the sort of thing that happens when you are down the bottom. But we do a lot of work on our reaction press and we reaped rewards from it. We have had a lot of success in our recent run from pressing high and winning the ball up the pitch and there is no greater success than getting a goal.
“We have been through a lot, both emotionally and physically, in the past few weeks and I think maybe that caught up with us a little.
“Yeovil are scrapping for their lives and we were under no illusions it was going to be tough. We have said so many times that the first goal is important and, unfortunately, we didn’t get it. If we had, I think we would have won.”