CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe believes all future Championship games should kick-off simultaneously “at the business end of the season”.
Nottingham Forest’s clash with Cherries tomorrow (3pm) will take place after play-off rivals Brighton and Ipswich have played their penultimate matches of the season.
The Seagulls host Yeovil tonight (7.45pm), while the Tractor Boys face Burnley tomorrow lunchtime (12.15pm) – with both games being broadcast live by Sky Sports, the fixtures having been selected in March.
Victory for Brighton would effectively end Cherries’ hopes of reaching the play-offs as it would leave Howe’s team six points adrift of sixth place with an inferior goal difference.
It would also see the Sussex outfit steal a march on their other rivals – with Forest among them – and put a dampener on Cherries’ final home game of the season.
The Football League has insisted all matches on the last day will kick off at 12.15pm to accommodate live television coverage and Howe believes the same should apply on the penultimate Saturday.
Asked by the Daily Echo whether he would rather have seen all matches start at the same time, Howe replied: “In an ideal world, yes, of course. But it is not an ideal world and the fixtures came out a long time ago so it was always going to happen.
"It is just unfortunate that, potentially, it could change things from our perspective before the game and I think that would be a shame.
“Hopefully, common sense will prevail and in the future around the business end of the season all games are played at the same time because you don’t want to see any advantages or disadvantages for anybody.”
Cherries, currently 11th in the table, are four points adrift of sixth-placed Reading, while Nottingham Forest in eighth trail the Royals by two points.
Asked how he viewed the play-off picture with two games remaining, Howe said: “I have said all along that we were never in control of things and were always playing catch-up.
“Unfortunately, in our past three games, we haven’t got the results we wanted and it now leaves it looking very delicate and fragile for us.
“We have tried not to put the emphasis necessarily on winning because that can take away your focus. The most important thing is your performance and, if you perform right, nine times out of 10, you will win the game.”
“We have tried to have the aim that we want to keep the last game against Millwall with something on it and that is still our aim going into the Forest game. It may be out of our hands but all we can do is try to do our bit.”
All final-day fixtures in the Championship will kick-off at 12.15pm with broadcasters selecting games to be shown live following the penultimate round of matches.
Kick-off times in League One and League Two will remain at 3pm.