Jacob Tanswell, AFC Bournemouth correspondent for Reach PLC/ Dorset Live, gives us the inside scoop on The Cherries.
Bournemouth currently sit second in the League table, having won 12 of their opening 18 matches under new manager Scott Parker.
“The club have had a reset. For 10 years Bournemouth had Eddie Howe and then Jason Tindale, but he was of course part of Eddie Howe’s reign. I think it all became quite comfortable, quite stale.”
“Scott Parker came in in the summer. The reason negotiations took so long was because he wanted his own backroom staff. He brought five or six in, and it just freshened up the club. Right from the start of pre-season there has been this fine style of play, in a 4-3-3. All the players have bought into it.”
"Take Dominic Solanke as an example. He has been criticised heavily; he has had a 'poor time at Bournemouth,' but he is reenergised because of the new coaching staff. A manager coming in with new staff for the first time in a decade is likely the major factor Bournemouth have started so well.”
Dominic Solanke is the obvious candidate to be nominated as our opponent's key man, however, Tanswell has highlighted Ryan Christie as the one to watch.
“I think Ryan Christie is so important. He joined from Celtic after a lot of speculation that he would join Southampton or Burnley. He chose Bournemouth. He knew he would be admired. He was impressed by Scott Parker.”
“He’s got five assists in 13 games. He has been key on the right hand side, but I can see him moving centrally with Philip Billing suspended. If opposition teams defend in a low block, The Cherries turn to Christie to open up a pass and cut open the defence.”
Lloyd Kelly missed his teams 3-2 defeat to Derby at the weekend, having started every single league game prior, and the 23-year-old looks set to miss the trip to SE16.
“He was a huge miss. He had been an ever-present in the team. He’s been Captain this season and he has been immense. He has really commanded that centre-back position and he’s left-footed.”
“Parker wants to play out from the back and having a left-footer is key. Against Derby, it was a little bit jarring. It didn’t quite work between Cahill and Mepham, and it disrupted things. It looks like Kelly will be injured and miss the match, which will play into Millwall’s hands.”
A Tom Lawrence brace saw Derby come from behind and condemn the south-coasters to a defeat on the road.
“Two of Bournemouth’s last three games have been defeats. They looked flat, although Derby were well worth the three points. Their crowd were up. Although Bournemouth were ahead at the break, they never looked comfortable, Derby manged to press them and hunt them down in packs.”
“Kelly and Jordan Zemura both missed out with injury, and I think that played into Derby’s hands. They were fighting for their lives and had a better intensity than Bournemouth. The Cherries have covered the most ground in the league and are the best pressers in the Championship – but against Derby, they were outfought.”
On the back of a defeat to The Rams, it is unlikely Bournemouth will change their approach at The Den.
“Parker won’t change. It will be a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 in possession, they’ll try and play out from the back and dominate possession. Bournemouth will look to silence the home support as early as they can with ball retention and an early goal.”
“When The Cherries score early, they tend to run away with it. That’s what they will be looking to do.”