Cherries: Pearce relishing battle with Bradley

24 December 2010 07:00
FIERCE competitor Jason Pearce says he is relishing the prospect of a Boxing Day duel with in-form striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.

The combative central defender is likely to be tasked with trying to shackle League One's leading goalscorer when Cherries host Plymouth Argyle on Sunday (3pm).

Wright-Phillips, who made 32 top-flight appearances for Manchester City, has netted 12 goals in 14 league games for the Pilgrims this season.

Cherries captain Pearce told the Daily Echo: Plymouth have got some really good players, the main one being Bradley Wright-Phillips.

He is a proven goalscorer and is in a rich vein of form. He has also scored goals in the Premier League which shows what a good player he is.

Since we won promotion, I have noticed how big the step up has been, especially when it comes to the quality of the strikers. A lot of them could probably play in the Championship and he is one of them.

But I want to play against people like that and pit my wits against the best to show I'm a good player as well. It will be a good test for me and one I am looking forward to.

Pearce added: We've had a couple of pre-season friendlies against Spurs since I've been here and I was up against Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko.

When I first came up against Defoe and Crouch, they ran rings around me. But when we played them a second time, I felt I did a lot better.

I have learned from those experiences and need to make sure I keep learning. If you want to test yourself at the highest level, you need to be able to deal with quality players.

Ever-present Pearce has continued to grow in stature at the heart of the Cherries defence this season despite being paired with a number of different partners.

It has been hard at times, admitted the 23-year-old. It is good to have set partnerships in certain key areas and we've had to change things a few times due to injury.

You are also up against much better players and that adds to the challenge. In League Two, if a striker gets quite a few chances, he might only take one. In this league, they take more so you have got to defend well, both individually and as a team, to restrict them.

A lot of the goals we have conceded this season have been down to individual errors rather than collective bad defending and we need to cut them out.

Although Ryan Garry remains sidelined due to injury, boss Eddie Howe's defensive resources have improved following the return to training of Shaun Cooper.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo