CAPTAIN Tommy Elphick is adamant Cherries’ sought-after stars can realise their Premier League ambitions by staying put – despite the departure of star striker Lewis Grabban.
The club’s emergence as a force in the Championship last season saw unparalleled interest in their leading lights with Grabban completing a record-breaking move to newly-relegated Norwich City last Thursday.
Canaries triggered a £3million release clause in the striker’s contract to dwarf the highest fee Cherries had previously received for a player – £1million for Danny Ings’ transfer to Burnley in 2011.
Top flight clubs and some of the second tier’s most illustrious names have been linked with the likes of Steve Cook, Eunan O’Kane and Matt Ritchie, but 26-year-old skipper Elphick insisted Cherries’ upwardly-mobile charges should seek their shot at the big time in Dorset.
He told the Daily Echo: “Grabbs will be hard to replace but I don’t think the manager would let him go without an idea of how to fill the void. We have a lot of great strikers and it is a big chance for players to step up and produce.
“It was a great deal for all parties. Grabbs gets to play for another big club and the money might give us the chance to add to what we have.
“Our players are attracting interest is a good thing, it shows we are doing something right as a team and how far we have come under the guidance of the manager.
“We have all benefited from the investment and work the club has put into us all and that’s only going to continue because neither the manager nor the owner wants to stop.
“Everyone wants to make that leap into the Premier League and once players get to the age of 25 or 26, they want to be doing it now.
“Some can get a bit jittery if they are at a club which isn’t moving forward or if they aren’t getting the rewards they deserve, but everyone here is.
“We’re taking a different path to some of the bigger players but if we can just stick it out for another season or two then I believe we can get there.
“Sometimes, patience is the best way forward and with how far we have come in such a short space of time, there will be no better feeling than making it together.
“At the moment we’re all rising together, we’re all happy and playing some of the best football of our careers, so why not ride it out and see where it takes us?
“The manager doesn’t stop with any individual. He is always trying to improve every one of us and the more time we spend working with him, the better all of us will become as individuals and as a group.
“If we can keep the core of this squad together then I am convinced that great things can be achieved.”