Written by Oliver Ferris (@OllieFerris12)
Despite losing 2-1 to promotion rivals Brentford two nights ago, AFC Bournemouth boss Jason Tindall is confident that his side will be able to respond well against tonight’s opponents Stoke.
The two goals on either side of half-time were the first the squad had conceded in eight-and-a-half hours of football.
“It was disappointing to lose, but if you look at the performance, we played very well and a game that we didn’t deserve to lose.”
The squad travel to the notorious bet365 stadium hoping to redeem themselves and continue pushing towards promotion. Tindall was clear in stating: “The boys are ready to go out and respond in the right way.”
Bournemouth face a Stoke side who are unbeaten in their last five league games, with four of them being 0-0 draws, and who also lurk in and around the play-offs. In analysing tonight’s opponents, Tindall was full of praise and respect: “Michael O’Neill has done a great job. The squad has great experience and are a strong championship side, and they will be tough to break down.”
Stoke’s strong defensive qualities were not a call of concern for the Cherries boss. He said: “We’re a team that has scored a lot of goals in the Championship this season. We like to attack, create chances, and score goals. We are in a good place to go there and take the game to them.”
Bournemouth currently sit in fourth, with a game in hand on those above them, which, if won, would see them move to second position. They currently hold the strongest goal difference in the league of +18, which can only explain Tindall’s calmness to the squad’s ability to react and respond in the right way.
In injury news, it appears as though the travels to Stoke have come too early for Arnaut Danjuma, as he gets ready to spend another evening on the sidelines recovering from the hamstring injury.
No doubt the side will be looking towards the number one position as an objective going into 2021 as they continue with the strong performances, and with the strong squad at Tindall’s disposal.
“We want to do the best we can and finish as high as we can. The number one challenge is to win the league, but we can’t think too far ahead of ourselves and we just have to focus on the next game,” he said.
Tindall was quick to emphasise just how pleased he is with the team and how they have been performing and are confident they are heading into the right direction.
As we enter the new year, Tindall reflected on what had been a “strange” 2020.
“When I look at it from a football perspective this season, am I happy with where we are and how were performing and the direction we are going in? Yes, I am. We are always improving and getting better, but I am very excited for the future and what 2021 brings.”
With the new year comes the January transfer window with plenty of speculation surrounding the club.
Reports have emerged regarding the future of Joshua King with strong interest coming from Premier League side West Ham. When asked on the future of King, Tindall claimed: “We can’t control speculation. Josh has trained very well and is acting in the right way around the group.”
“His main priority is to the club. Josh made it clear a long time ago he did not want to sign a new contract, so it is nothing new and something we have been prepared for. He has a duty always to give 100%.”
King only has 6 months remaining on his contract which would risk the possibility of him leaving on a free in the summer, which will undoubtedly be something the club are thinking about.
The potential departure of King will most certainly have been cushioned by the abilities and consistent performances stemming from youngster Dominic Solanke. The 23-year-old has really come into his own this season as he currently sits on nine league goals and fifth in the top goal scorers’ chart in the championship thus far.
“He is an integral part of the side. He is delivering excellent performances and is someone I can trust undoubtedly,” Tindall added.
Further exciting news had come from the club as it was announced former Bournemouth and Premier League star Jack Wilshire was training with the Cherries. When asked on the situation, Tindall stated: “It’s great Jack is training with us. It is great for him and the club. He was training alone and did not have a club. We will see where he is in a couple weeks and see what happens.”
It was clear to see the Cherries boss was not in a rush to look at potential signings and departures. “I am happy with the squad we got. If there is a player available who fits the right criteria, then we will look into it. We most certainly do not need to sell.”
Going into 2021, the Cherries are in a strong position with a strong squad and manager at the helm to lift the club back into the Premier League, and with all focus currently on winning tonight’s tough fixture away to Stoke.