We speak to Cherry Chimes‘ Peter Bell ahead of the Swans’ New Year’s Eve clash against Bournemouth at the Liberty…
Hows your season been so far?
If you look at the league table people would say AFC Bournemouth fans should be overjoyed, but it has been a bit up and down really and you never feel that happy about your team until they are safe. There has been progress. The improvement is the team’s home form which has been string after a difficult start with Man Utd visiting first game. But there have been disappointments like the defeats to Sunderland and Middlesbrough. The highlight was the comeback against Liverpool especially as Bournemouth could have been three or four down by half time and were lucky just to have to comeback from two behind.
Eddie Howe was linked with England over the summer, were you concerned he may move onto a higher profile job?
Not really. Eddie is often linked with top jobs but he is a young manager with plenty of time on his side. The Bournemouth project has become a real challenge to see how far he can take the club. He enjoys improving the players he has identified to join the club and I still see him as building the club up and pushing to see if the club can win a cup or finish in the top 10. I think he can improve as a manger at AFC Bournemouth – after all he is in the best league and to move to the England job would not be helpful in his career at the moment. Once he has managed a top four side I think he would be more suitable for the FA. If Arsenal, who he has been linked with, come knocking it will be interesting to see if he would leave. But I think he gets on extremely well with Maxim Demin and Neill Blake and he has built up that understanding over a number of years which would make it difficult for him to turn his back on what he has built on the south coast.
Were you happy with the transfer business you did last summer and where do you need to strengthen in January?
Eddie Howe says he won’t be doing much business in this window and I’m okay with that. There are a number of players though that the fans want to see play more who were signed in the summer like Lys Mousset, Emerson Hyndman and Lewis Cook. It has been a bit hard to understand that only Jordan Ibe and loan-signings Jack Wilshere and Nathan Aké have been good enough to get regular starting places.
Who have been your star men and who needs to up their game?
I was surprised to see how well Artur Boruc played for the first couple of months in goal. He said he had been kept fit because of training with Poland for last summer’s Euros and he came back sharp and in great form. I’d also say Nathan Aké has been superb at reading the game and making blocks. He’s even been scoring lots of goals as well.
What do you make of Swansea and which players if any do you fear?
There is one name that I think about before all others at Swansea and that’s Gylfi Sigurdsson who is absolutely deadly with free-kicks and he kind of lifts your team. I imagine he has not had the best of seasons for you but we know he is talented and a player. Jefferson Montero can be a bit more hit and miss and I think you can say that of a few players in the Swansea line up. Wayne Routledge, for example, can be great one week and then not perform the next.
Predict the score and where both teams will finish?
It’s an away game and AFC Bournemouth have been bang average away from home. Swansea also know they have to win their home games now. While I think both teams will go for the win I can see it being a 1-1 draw.
I never had Swansea in my teams to go down at the start of the season and I still believe they can escape the drop. I’ll predict that Swansea climb to 17th _ in know I must be mad! And AFC Bournemouth? Well pre-season I said 14th and now I’d probably say 12th would be something they could achieve. I don’t see them finishing higher unless the away form improves.