EUNAN O’Kane refuted that Cherries had been burdened by new-found expectation and insisted the pressure remained firmly on their rivals as the Championship play-off battle intensifies.

On the back of five straight victories, Cherries were red-hot favourites to maintain their run of form at Yeovil but a flat display saw their top-six aspirations dented by Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

Brighton and Ipswich both took full advantage with victories, while Reading restored their two- point gap over Cherries with a share of the spoils against champions-elect Leicester City on Monday.

O’Kane admitted that Cherries’ off-colour display at Huish Park had been “poor”, but insisted the anti-climax had nothing to do with being touted as a promotion contender.

“Although there was an expectation for us to beat Yeovil, there has been no real pressure on us to make the play-offs,” said O’Kane.

“As a group of players we want to do it, the fans want us to do it and so does everyone behind the scenes, but I don’t think there is any strain on us considering the size of the clubs we are up against.

“If you were to ask them about pressure, they would probably feel it a lot more than us so I don’t think the performance came down to that.

Sometimes you have a bad day in football, you have to just look at where you went wrong, try to write it off and move on.

“The result didn’t do an awful lot for us. We were definitely not at our best, nobody could disagree with that, but we still created enough to win the game. You have to give Yeovil credit as well, they pressed the life out of us which was what we had done to other teams of late.

“Every point is a good point in this league but we have to look at ourselves after that. Without being disrespectful towards Yeovil, we should be winning those games if we want to get in the play-offs.

“We will look at why we were a bit flat but after that we must draw a line under it and prepare for a big game on Friday.”

Ninth-placed Cherries remain two points shy of a place in the end-of-season lottery but O’Kane believes there will still be twists and turns before the campaign ends.

“We can’t control results elsewhere,” he added. “We just have to concentrate on ourselves, try to win every game and, hopefully, come the end of the season it will be enough.

“We can still do it, it’s not impossible and until it mathematically gets away from us we will keep believing. If we win all four of remaining games then I think we’ll be in there.”

  • Cherries have released development squad trio Samir Bihmoutine, Chad Collins and Lewis Lindsay after their contracts were cancelled by mutual consent.