Preview

So who's looking forward to the big kick off?? Anyone? Anyone at all?? At the start of this week you'd have been hard pushed to find any Town fans who were, except maybe those who enjoy a quirky sense of footballing masochism. However! The signing of Conor Coady has raised spirits and with Sean St Ledger and maybe Jacob Butterfield imminent, some of the more negative fans are changing their rafter decor from noose to bunting. In truth, Town's dismal form from February onwards and the slow, tepid nature of the style of play has lead to much apathy amongst supporters and a rumoured downturn in season tickets sales, despite club information to the contrary. Town and in particular Mark Robins need to get off to a reasonable start to make sure that any potential stay away fans, aren't away for too long.

Likely line-up

If the Newcastle game is anything to go by, Robins will once again go back to his 352 formation which in truth is very much like a lopsided 442 with extra cover on the right for the more attacking Adam Hammill. This system was used to great effect before xmas and saw some of the best football down at The JSS since the early Lee Clark period. As of yet it is unclear as to whether Gerrard and Vaughan are fit, and if not then Tommy Smith and Danny Ward are likely to start. Adam Clayton has likely played his last game for the club, and his playmaking responsibilities will initially be taken over by Ollie Norwood. The game may have come slightly early for Conor Coady who will probably start on the bench.


Prediction

Town 1 - 1 Bournemouth
Town to make a solid start, but a talented Bournemouth team will push Town for all 3 points.


Know Your Enemy

Throughout this season, Thrice Champions will be getting the views of opposition fans, bloggers and podcasters so you know the story behind the club they know so much about.

Ahead of our opening day clash with AFC Bournemouth at the John Smith's Stadium we spoke to blogger Peter Bell who runs Cherry Chimes.

Here's what he had to say to our questions...


TC: After last seasons positive finish, what are the expectations on the south coast this season?

PB: The expectations are really high. The club held a fans' forum on Tuesday night this week when it was put to Eddie Howe whether he would settle for consolidation this year and a 10th spot finish like last season. He said no and is determined to make the fans proud of the team.

There is a real feeling among the fans that if a few things go our way regarding injuries and some decisions, the team is capable of having a real go at a top six finish. I think that will be difficult as the second season in the Championship is never a simple task, but I agree with those who say the squad is stronger than at the end of May last season. 

TC: How do you feel the transfer window so far has gone for you so far?

PB: A bit mixed to be fair. While we could have lost Lewis Grabban back in January for much less, we could not prevent Norwich coming in with a big offer and Cardiff and others were after him to so he was always likely to go.

Callum Wilson is highly rated though by Coventry fans and I was pleased that we beat others to his signature, but it is hard to know if he'll be an instant success. I also think the free transfer signings of Dan Gosling from Newcastle and Junior Stanislas from Burnley is good business as they add experience and hopefully some goals to the team.

Have leaked quite a few goals last season I would have thought we would sign a central defender but instead we have promoted Baily Cargill from the development squad to the first team, which is good to see.

TC: How big a loss is Lewis Grabban?

PB: The club has said it could not match the kind of wages of a former Premier League club, so it was just a case of getting the best deal they could for him. While he scored 22 league goals in 2013/14, I think 8 of them were from the penalty spot.

It is more the way Grabban stretched teams with his running out to the wings and bringing other players in that made him a real asset to the team. He was very unselfish and yet had the ability to create something out of the blue, which caught a few keepers out last season. I am sure he will do well at Norwich City. 

TC: Is Callum Wilson good enough to fill Grabban's boots?

PB: I don't think it will just be down to Callum WIlson to score the goals. It will be his first season in the Championship and AFCB can rely on others as well like Yann Kermorgant and Brett Pitman, while Tokelo Rantie may yet start to get to grips with playing in England and prove to be a better signing than he looked last season.

Eddie Howe has also challenged the midfield players to chip in with more goals this season and Harry Arter has the kind of game that could see him contribute more in that way. 

TC:  Which Bournemouth player should Huddersfield fans worry about?

PB: Huddersfield's main task will be to hold back the runs of our two wing backs, Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels. They will be the main supply routes to the front players and Yann Kermorgant and Matt Ritchie are capable finishers, while Marc Pugh can also pop up with a goal or two.

I think Kermorgant will be AFCB's biggest threat overall and not just on the floor but also in the air. 

TC: Which Huddersfield player do you think Bournemouth fans should worry about?

PB: Adam Hammill gave us a torrid time in the first half up at the John Smith's Stadium last season. He turned our defence inside out on more than one occasion and he'll need some stopping. We know how good James Vaughan is too. He is well experienced in the Championship now and will be looking to be a 20 goal a season man, but I hear he has missed a bit of pre-season and hopefully will be out for our game.

I expect Danny Ward and Nakhi Wells will be enough for our players to contend with and it will be interesting to see how your new Forest loan signing Radoslaw Majewski plays - we need to keep him quiet.

TC: What is your prediction for Saturday?

PB: . Both sides will really have a go at each other and I can't see it being a dull 0-0 encounter. I have a feeling that the Cherries may start strongly and even get a lead by half time, but Huddersfield I can see coming back and us sharing the points. A 3-3 draw.

Hopefully, we will not be last on the Football League show then! I am coming up for the game with my two sons and we will have a good time no matter what, even if it is an early start!


Peter Bell of the AFC Bournemouth blog 'Cherry Chimes' was speaking with Thrice Champions' Greg Marah.

 

 

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