BOURNEMOUTH (H) – THE PREVIEW

17/01/20

If City are to climb Everest and mount an exciting escape from the drop (lot of metaphors there), they probably need to beat fellow strugglers Bournemouth. Andrew Lawn chats to Bournemouth fan and New Milton Town ladies coach Kellie Flexman to set the scene.

Andy – Are you coming down with us?

Kellie – I wouldn’t like to see it but I think there will be a chance of relegation if we don’t turn it around soon.

Can you turn it around? There always is a team who slumps and your performance at home to Watford (irony alert) had all the hallmarks of a side struggling…

It’s no surprise that our dip in form coincided with most of the first team being injured. Because of that we have been unable to field the same team twice for months and several players being played out of position.

Our lack of goals concerns me, along with our lack of creativity, but in Eddie we trust.

I read recently that Callum Wilson hadn’t had a shot on target since October. Can that be right? There’s no pressure on Eddie then?

Callum Wilson hasn’t had a sniff at goal for ages due to lack of service.

As a team we are lacking creativity in midfield David Brooks is a huge miss for us as he is one player who can pick a pass.

Of course, there is pressure on Eddie but I believe that the fans that have followed Bournemouth through their hard times and the recent journey feel he has the right to have the time it around even it means going back into the Championship (with Norwich 😊)

Absolutely, it was only a few weeks ago that he was being spoken about as an England manager in waiting. Football is a strange game.

What were expectations like before the season began? Traditionally you’re seen as an underdog in Premier League stakes, but your owners have the resources to make you one of the richest, so where does that leave expectation?

As Eddie always states expectation is to improve on the previous year.

Having money to spend is great when you spend it well but we have had a few dubious buys over the last 2/3 seasons and we need to make sure that when big money is spent we improve on what we have. The likes of Lloyd Kelly, a summer signing, has not even kicked a ball due to pre-season injury.

We will always be an underdog in this league as we are a small club with the smallest stadium in the Premier League and it will be hard to change that.

At the moment the club’s focus is maintaining Premier League status. As you know the Championship is a hard league to get out of…

It absolutely is. But it’s also more fun…

To me Bournemouth are a good example of the problem with the Premier League in that no matter how good the coach and how much money you have, there is still a glass ceiling that means realistically the best most of us can do is 8th. Maybe 6th if you have a great season.

Coupled with the disaster that VAR has been, there must be a little bit of you that wouldn’t mind relegation if it comes?

Although VAR has been favourable to Bournemouth, I do think it is ruining the game. No-one wants to wait up to 5 minutes for a decision to be made.

The Championship was great fun, more games and we were competitive.

Unfortunately, there are a few clubs in the Premier League with the money to compete. No-one wants to be relegated but at least we may have the chance of playing you again if we are.

A nice away weekend each way. On to Norwich, what have you made of our, let’s call it bumpy, return?

You have a couple of outstanding players in Pukki and Cantwell but I have to say when we played Norwich in October, we looked as bad as each other. I think we could have played all day and all night and none of us would have scored.

I think you have been very unlucky not to have won more games as you have struggled to hold onto a lead.

We both concede too many goals and struggle defensively and this needs to improve if we are both to stay up.

It could make for an entertaining game on Saturday, how do you see it playing out?

I can’t see many goals. If we play out from the back as usual Norwich could get a result.

Either way, I can’t see it being an exciting game.

Oh.

I think it could be curtains for the both of us. The next 3 games we are playing teams around us and we can’t afford to drop points.

Let’s finish on a specific prediction. Score, scorers, methods, the whole hog?

Score 1-1.  Scorer for us Dan Gosling with an assist from Ryan Fraser.  Scorer for you Cantwell.  A game with few chances for both teams.  What about a prediction of Callum Wilson having a shot on target.

Oooh. I like that. Along Come Norwich and all that.

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