MARC Pugh knows a sharp upturn in expectation levels has seen Cherries transformed from hunters to the hunted.

Pugh is one of the few survivors in the current squad from when Cherries battled against adversity to reach the League One play-offs in 2011.

And the winger is hoping to help Paul Groves’s men mount another promotion assault this season – albeit in vastly contrasting circumstances.

Pugh told the Daily Echo: “We are expected to at least reach the play-offs this season, whereas, two years ago, people thought we would do well to just stay in the division and we proved them wrong.

“There is a lot of expectancy from the supporters and there has been major investment in the club. We have brought in some big players and we need to perform.

“Although we had a shocking start last season, we put together a great run up to Christmas and it was looking really positive. We haven’t had the worst start in the world but need to start turning the draws into wins.”

Pugh, in common with the team, has experienced mixed fortunes this season and lost his place after starting the first four league games before earning a recall for the midweek draw with Brentford.

“It is frustrating not to play but the manager makes the decisions and you have got to respect that,” said Pugh. “He picks a team that he thinks is going to win and nobody is bigger than the club. Every player must fight for a place and then do everything to keep it.

“I felt I created some chances and got in some crosses against Brentford. I wasn’t myself in the second half because I was struggling with my thigh. It was just one of those things and you have got to grin and bear it. Hopefully, I can now get a good run in the team.”

Pugh will be hoping to keep his place when Cherries face Paolo Di Canio’s Swindon at the County Ground tomorrow (3pm).

“Their manager is certainly a character!” said Pugh. “He is very passionate about the game and I am sure his players are as well. He will expect 100 per cent work-ethic from them. They have got a lot of good quality and should be thereabouts this season. We need to go there and believe we can win.”

Asked whether he would like to play under a manager like Di Canio, Pugh replied: “I like a moan at times so I would probably have a few run-ins with him! It probably wouldn’t be in our best interests to be in the same room because, if he had a go at me, I would bite back.

“It is all emotions within the game and, the next day, you pick yourself up and apologise. Everybody rants and raves when you lose. You just want to be successful and that is why we are all in the game.”