Cherries: Claridge insists Howe's men are not strong enough for promotion charge

10 December 2010 07:00
DEAN Court old boy Steve Claridge admits he would love to see Cherries win promotion but reckons the sale of top strikers Brett Pitman and Josh McQuoid has made it a tall order.[LNB] Claridge is a keen follower of Cherries' fortunes and says he has a real soft spot for the club after making the first and last of his 1,000 career appearances for the Dorset outfit.[LNB] However, he is unpopular with a section of Cherries fans after comments attributed to him while he was boss of Weymouth claimed he had said the Terras were the only decent team in the county.[LNB] Claridge has always strenuously denied making the remark but is always subjected to adverse chants whenever he is spotted at Dean Court.[LNB] Now a successful media pundit, Claridge, a summariser on the BBC's Football League Show, has given the Daily Echo a typically-candid assessment of Cherries' promotion chances.[LNB] Asked whether he thought Eddie Howe's men could go up this season, Claridge replied: Hand on heart, no. Not with what's around them.[LNB] Nothing would give me more pleasure than for them to get promoted again and they would be my number one choice in League One. But, as the season goes on, I think their lack of depth will tell.[LNB] It's very difficult and when you are punching above your weight, it is always a balancing act. People come, people go and people want your best players.[LNB] Probably not now but some time in the future there has to come a point when they say no'. The club won't move on and the manager won't be able to keep doing what he's doing.[LNB] He will also get frustrated because you can't keep pulling rabbits out of a hat and keep overachieving. Sometimes, you need a bit of help.[LNB] Claridge, who made his swansong appearance during a 4-0 defeat by Port Vale four years ago, added: I am fully aware the club has financial difficulties and we are all thankful it is still alive and functioning.[LNB] When all is said and done, the sale of players is a peripheral and even trivial matter. But talking purely for football reasons, you can't keep doing it. Their next aim is to be in a situation where they don't have to keep selling their best players.[LNB] I know you are never going to keep everyone but you are talking about two good players, two goalscorers.[LNB] Bournemouth haven't surprised a few this season, they have surprised everybody and people are still pinching themselves at what is going on there. It's fantastic.[LNB] Losing McQuoid, you do wonder for how long it can go on but you can never write them off. They have clearly got something very special and Eddie has done a wonderful job, whatever happens this season.[LNB]

Source: Bournemouth_Echo