Cherries: Purches wants to avoid Lincoln feeling

17 May 2011 07:00
WHEN he pictures the Millennium Stadium scene, Stephen Purches needs no reminding of the painful disparity between play-off success and failure.

As the goalscoring hero basked in the glory of Cherries' triumph, the anguish of defeated Lincoln City was not lost on him.

As I got the medal, I looked over and Keith Alexander, who is unfortunately not with us any more, got his players to stand and clap us, recalled Purches.

I looked over and can't remember who I said it to, but I said that is a brilliant gesture from them but I would never want to be over there'.

The play-offs are the best way in the world to go up but to lose must be heartbreaking. Let's hope that doesn't happen to us.

Purches, one of the stars of Cherries' 2003 play-off campaign, is aiming to record a memorable double.

He was an unused substitute as Cherries claimed a 1-1 draw against Huddersfield at Dean Court in Saturday's entertaining semi-final, first leg.

With the return fixture to come at the Galpharm Stadium tomorrow (7.45pm) and a final place at Old Trafford up for grabs, sweet thoughts of Cherries' crowning moment in Cardiff only serve to reinforce the Essex-born 31-year-old's desire to repeat the feat.

It has been brilliant getting to the play-offs, said Purches, who rejoined the club from Leyton Orient last summer.

But once you get here, it is the realisation that we are here and it is a big thing.

It probably wasn't until we turned up at the Millennium Stadium, when we saw the amount of fans, the flags and the scarves, that it hit us and we thought this is a big day'. We didn't want to come away from that losing. Fortunately, everything worked out for us.

The actual game is a bit of a blur. I can remember everyone in the changing room after the game and the champagne being chucked about. That is what you are in football for the good times.

There are plenty of bad ones along the way as well but you can look back at things like that.

The lads had promotion last year and stayed up the year before. Why not make it a hat-trick

When asked whether there were comparisons to be drawn between the Cherries classes of 2003 and 2011, Purches pointed to team spirit.

But whether the current crop, which also includes Millennium Stadium heroes Warren Cummings, Steve Fletcher and goalkeeping coach Neil Moss, can emulate their predecessors remains to be seen.

Before Purches and his colleagues can contemplate another final tilt, Cherries have the not-so-small matter of trying to overcome the in-form Terriers in their own back yard.

But the prospect of playing at Old Trafford is one Purches would relish.

Speaking ahead of the first leg at the club's play-off press call, he added: Just before the Man United-Chelsea game, the television did the bit on the pitch and I couldn't believe how nice it was.

You get a little buzz from that. Then, they did the bit in the changing room. You start thinking about being there and it would be a great place to be.

The year we went up, the final wasn't at Wembley and, hopefully, it is a good omen for us again that it is at a different place. It could have our name on it.

Source: Bournemouth_Echo

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