STAND-in skipper Darryl Flahavan insists positive thinking and cool heads will be crucial as the heat intensifies in the race for League One play-off places.

Goalkeeper Flahavan will be hoping to bounce back from his midweek gaffe when he leads Cherries into battle against Rochdale tomorrow (3pm).

The 33-year-old, a key figure in Cherries’ mid-season revival, took the rap after allowing Kevin Lisbie’s opener to beat him at his near post during the 2-1 defeat by Leyton Orient.

But having won promotion with Southend in 2005 and 2006 and tasted relegation with the Shrimpers in 2007, Flahavan has learned to deal with the highs and lows.

He told the Daily Echo: “I don’t get too carried away when things are going well and I won’t get too disappointed about making a mistake. That’s the life of a goalkeeper. One week, you are a hero and, the next, a villain. I have been in the game long enough to know that.

“The result in midweek was a bit of a blow. We had been on a good run and, unfortunately, it came to an end. We have got to be positive and try to start another one. We will dust ourselves down and try to get a good result at Rochdale.

“It is important to remain positive even when you have had a disappointing result. You can’t get too down about it and we won’t. We just need to keep doing what we have during the past few months because there hasn’t been much wrong.”

Following the visit to bottom-placed Rochdale, Lee Bradbury’s men face a potentially-defining series of five games against teams above them – MK Dons, Charlton, Stevenage, Sheffield Wednesday and Carlisle. Currently eighth, Cherries are four points adrift of a play-off place.

Flahavan added: “We need to put another run together as quickly as possible and try to put ourselves in the mix. We know we have got some tough games coming up but we are a good side and other teams know that. They get men behind the ball and try to stop us playing because they are worried about us.

“We have got some big games coming up but will go into them with no fear. We are confident we can beat anyone in this division.

“Rochdale will be a tough game for starters. They will be scrapping to get three points against us and will probably fancy their chances on their own patch. But, apart from the first month or so, our away form has been good this season so we will go there in a positive frame of mind.”

Cherries striker Michael Symes, who last month joined Dale on loan for the rest of the season, is ineligible to face his parent club. Symes came on as a second-half substitute during Dale’s 1-0 defeat at Scunthorpe on Tuesday.

Dale: (from) Kurucz, Darby, Long, Widdowson, Amankwaah, Grimes, Kennedy, Adams, Thompson, Jones, Barry-Murphy, Tutte, Akpa Akpro, Holden, Lucas, McCallum.

Cherries: (from) Flahavan, Francis, Cook, Zubar, Daniels, Pugh, Arter, MacDonald, McDermott, W Thomas, Tubbs, Malone, Purches, Fletcher, Gregory, Fogden, Cummings, Stockley, D Thomas.