It’s no secret that AFC Bournemouth are looking to add experience to a back four. Will this be a first choice centre back or a backup for Francis and Cook. Looking at last year’s defensive record it doesn’t take a genius to work out where our weaknesses lie.
The loss of Elphick and Distin, while not devastating, leaves a hole that needs filling. Both were reliable(?) backups, if not first choice. It’s an area that needs dealing with and soon.
There is less than a week before the new season kicks off, so based on the assumption all current players are fit and no new players come in between now and Sunday 14th August 2016, Eddie Howe will be working with what he has at his disposal.
The strongest back four will be the same as last season when Elphick was injured. It will be Cook and Francis in the centre with Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith left and right. But what if they are not fully fit?
Left and right are not an issue in our eyes, it’s in the middle where we are light. It’s going to be a hard enough job against Rooney and Ibrahimovic . In fact, it will be hard against any Premier League striker. But, what happens if one of Francis or Cook get injured, or even both.
Who are the alternatives? New boy Brad Smith, loanee Nathan Ake, youth product Baily Cargil and long-time absentee Tyrone Mings. Eunan O’Kane has even filled in at right-back. We know that Jason Tindall mentioned Rhoys Wiggins as back up, but surely he must have been joking. Tell us he was joking. Surely the only reason they bought him was as a favour to keep him in work.
Any of these might make a good stop gap (apart from Wiggins), but realistically we need centre-back cover. Eddie said after the Valencia game they were on the look-out for additions but he said ‘I’m not going to tell in what positions’. We will tell you Eddie, in the middle of the defence.
We believe in Eddie and we believe in Cook and Francis, but there are not superhuman, but they will need to be to get through the season unscathed.