MARC Pugh believes Cherries’ ability to mix and match will stand them in good stead as their League One promotion push continues to gather momentum.
Winger Pugh notched his eighth goal of the season to put the finishing touches to Cherries’ 2-0 victory over neighbours Portsmouth on Saturday.
The 25-year-old added to Lewis Grabban’s opener as Cherries were rewarded for wearing down a stubborn rearguard action from struggling Pompey.
Pugh told the Daily Echo: “Every game is tough in this league and it is a good challenge. There is a contrast of styles and I think we have showed we can adapt.
“Some teams play very directly, hit the targetman and make it very difficult for you. Others try to play decent football and that can create its own problems.
“Most teams who come here are going to do exactly what Portsmouth did. They stuck two banks of four behind the ball and made it really difficult for us.
“The crowd had to stick with us in the first half and they did. We kept moving the ball but didn’t have too many clear-cut chances. It was tough to break them down and it was a big relief once we got the first goal. Then, we could try to play our stuff and look to create more chances.
“We went to MK Dons last week and were playing on the counter-attack because we knew they had some good players and had the ability to break us down.
“Teams are going to fear us and, as long as we keep performing the way we have been for the past couple of months, then I am sure we will be there or thereabouts.
“If you are always on the front foot and keep trying to move the opposition, they are eventually going to tire. Portsmouth worked really hard in the first half and we knew we would have to be patient.”
Pugh, the reigning supporters’ player of the year, added: “We have got goals coming from everywhere and are looking really solid at the back.
“I am told we are favourites to win the league and there is a big expectancy on us. Hopefully, we can live up to it.
“I am aiming to beat last season’s tally of 12 goals and still think it is achievable. But the main thing is for the team to keep winning. If someone said I wouldn’t score again and we would go up, I would take it all day long.
“We have been on an incredible run since the manager and Jason came back and it is great to be part of it. We need to keep our focus and maintain our performances levels for the rest of the season and see where it takes us.”