The release of the fixtures list reveals the task that lies ahead for the Cherries. A quick glance at the fixtures list and you might think things don’t look that bad. The first fixture of the season, Charlton at home, is perfectly winnable, but its also easily losable. This is followed by a couple of tough games against Wigan and Watford, with Huddersfield and Doncaster thrown in for good measure.
For us, these are all winnable, but much depends on hitting the ground running, and providing consistent performances. We could be top 3, conversely, we could be bottom 3. It’s so hard to make a judgement, and the outcome of the season will depend much on consistency. Will we beat Reading, QPR, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Notts Forest, Leeds, Yeovil and Doncaster? On our day yes, but will the Cherries be at their best on every one of those 46 games?
The key to success lies very much in the reinforcements that Eddie Howe brings along for his Championship revolution. The signing of Eliott Ward, is a statement of intent, and strengthens an already strong defence. But, where do the Cherries need to strengthen to succeed?
“Will we beat Reading, QPR, Leicester, Middlesbrough, Notts Forest, Leeds, Yeovil and Doncaster?”
Starting in goal, we are well-catered for, but an injury to Allsop, might prove costly. In defence we are strong, when picking the strongest four. Look past Daniels, Francis, Cook, Elphick and now Ward and again we might struggle. Midfield is awash with experience and talent, but can Arter, O’Kane and MacDonald cut it in the Championship? We think so, and there is good back up in Hughes who has plenty of experience. Finally, up front, Pitman, will be crucial to success. Without him we seriously lack firepower.
So the burning question is ‘What do we need to succeed?’
A left back, right back, central midfielder and two strikers. Who will fill these roles? We aren’t going to speculate on that, that Mr Howe’s job, and we trust him to do it well.
Where we will finish at the end of the season? Our latest poll suggests mid-table. We prefer to dream, or seriously believe for more. We will stick our necks out now and look forward to Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Aston Villa, Chelsea and may be even Southampton, once again, in 2014/15.