Written By Andy Jones (@theramblingham)
Jason Tindall appeared in a relaxed mood ahead of his side’s Championship clash with high-flying Brentford, as third place takes on fourth place at the Brentford Community Stadium on Wednesday.
After seeing their Boxing day fixture with Millwall postponed, the South coast outfit have enjoyed an unexpected but welcomed break in what is a traditionally congested period.
Bournemouth have had 11 days to prepare for their top of the table meeting with last season’s playoff final losers, something manager Tindall believes can keep his side fresh ahead of their upcoming games.
Tindall said: “I think it did come at a good time, in the sense that it was off the back of a really tough sort of schedule, with the amount of games that we had to play in such a short space of time.
“It gave us an opportunity to refresh and do some really good work on the training ground to make sure we are ready to tackle the next block of games in front of us.”
However, while the break has given Tindall’s side a chance to recover from the demands of playing Championship football week in week out, Arnaut Danjuma remains sidelined, although his boss was upbeat about his return, he said: “Danjuma is very close now.
“One that took a lot longer than we hoped and initially planned for, but he is on the right track and doing extremely well and we should have him back available very soon.”
The Dorset club are also confident full-back Jack Stacey is close to full fitness, the 24-year-old returned to training this week and is expected back within 7-10 days. But former Brentford defender Chris Mepham is still several weeks away from a return to action.
Tindall continued: “Again Meps is just starting to go outside now on the training pitches with the physios and within the next week his programme will intensify a little now.
“We are hoping to have him back in the next two to three weeks.”
There is better news for Joshua King though, the Norwegian International has recovered from a back problem which has kept him out of the side of late, with Tindall confirming the strikers inclusion for the trip to West London.
He added: “Josh King is in a really good place, been really pleased with the way Josh has trained the last three or four days.
“I think he is over the back injury that he has had, I think that was due to probably almost working too hard on the training ground too soon after picking up COVID.
“I think we probably didn’t take into account, maybe how much that effected him and maybe pushed him a little bit too much too soon, which brought on a couple of back problems.
“But he certainly trained well the last few days, and looked really sharp and will be in the squad tomorrow.”
With no other injury concerns to worry about Bournemouth will be looking to close the gap on league leaders Norwich. Both The Cherries and Brentford sit five points off the top, and Tindall is all too aware of the challenge that lay in front of them.
He said: “They are a very very good side, unlucky in the Championship playoff final last year and have had a good year in the Championship, they are doing extremely well now, and on a very good unbeaten run.
“In my opinion they play football in the right way and have got some very talented players and it should make for a very entertaining game.”
Brentford have gone 15 games unbeaten and boast the league’s top scorer in Ivan Toney – the former Northampton man has netted 16 goals so far this term, and the Bournemouth coach is hoping his side can keep their run of clean sheets going.
Tindall added: “He is certainly a striker that is in form, but our defenders have played against a lot of top strikers in their time at this football club.
“Coming up against Ivan Toney, who is a very good striker in really good form is someone that they’re going to have to defend and defend well against.
“We are going to have to defend against Brentford as a team because they attack, they like to score goals, they like to create chances.
“It is a team we certainly need to be mindful of and make sure we take our good form, and certainly our good defensive record of late and deliver the performance that is good enough to win the game for us.”
There is no doubt, regardless of the result tomorrow night Tindall will be pleased with his first few months at the helm, and with the new year fast approaching the Bournemouth boss was speaking to Nerve Sport about his highlights of the season so far.
He said: “I think first and foremost the first game back against Blackburn at home which was a difficult game.
“I think as a manager you want to get off to a good start and win your first game, we managed to do that, it was a good game, that was obviously one of my highlights for those reasons.
“The second one as a manager was the Reading game, because it was a big game at the time, it was a very important game for us.
“Having been 2-0 down at half-time, to come out and deliver the quality performance we delivered in the second-half and win that game was another highlight.
“Its been a difficult year for everybody for so many reasons certainly for the football club with the relegation we had and with what’s going on in the world right now.
“I think if we look forward to a happy, healthy and successful 2021 and hopefully we can look forward to that and enjoy it.”
A victory for Bournemouth could see them leapfrog Swansea into second place – even if only for a few hours, before the Swans host Reading. The race for promotion is as tight as ever with ninth placed Bristol City only six points off an automatic promotion spot. The tough games will keep coming for Tindall and his squad as they search for a route back to the big lights of the Premier League.