WINGER Marc Pugh insists Cherries are well equipped to handle the pressure of their “must-win game” at Ipswich and that playing away could aid their cause.
Cherries travel to Portman Road tomorrow (3pm) having stuttered in their last-gasp bid for back-to-back promotions with a 1-1 draw at Yeovil followed by Good Friday’s 4-2 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
But their dream of a top-six finish, instigated by a five-match winning sequence prior to their past two matches, remained alive after Reading, Brighton, Blackburn and the Tractor Boys all failed to win over the weekend.
And with the prospect of upsetting the odds still a distinct possibility, Pugh has called on his colleagues to rediscover the fluency which trumped the likes of QPR and Reading to push Cherries into contention in the first place.
Pugh told the Daily Echo: “We have to go out and play with freedom. Successful teams express themselves without feeling the pressure and before the Yeovil game we were doing that.
“There’s always some kind of pressure on you when you’re in front of a crowd but we’re used to that. We coped with it last season when we went on that amazing run and we need to get back to that now.
“In our away games, we always carry a threat because of the pace we have in our team and I believe it will suit our style of play going into a high-pressure game at Ipswich.”
Pugh added: “It’s a must-win game. We still have three massive opportunities left and, in my opinion, we need all nine points.”
The last-ditch setback against the Owls did mark Pugh’s first Cherries goal since his ripsnorter at Leicester City in October.
However, with points far more precious than personal pride as the season approaches its climax, the wide man argued it was not one for the scrapbook.
“It was nice to get back on the scoresheet but it was a real kick in the teeth to lose and that was the overriding emotion,” he added.
“I have been getting the chances without quite finding the net but I have always believed I would score and would much rather have swapped the goal for a win.”