Cherries: Alan's place is his to lose says Howe
EDDIE Howe has thrown down the gauntlet to Alan Connell by telling the Cherries striker: Keep scoring and youll keep your place. Connell reopened his Cherries league goal account by paving the way for Saturdays 3-1 victory over Grimsby with a majestic opener. The 26-year-old, who has endured a traumatic time since returning to the club 14 months ago, rolled back the years to score with a vintage strike. His clinical 27th-minute effort from just inside the 18-yard box whistled past Mariners ex-Cherries goalkeeper Nick Colgan and into the top corner. It was Connells first league goal for Cherries since he scored in similar fashion against Bradford at Dean Court in December 2004. A terrace favourite during his first spell at the club between 2002 and 2005, Connell has battled back after suffering horrendous injury and personal problems. Howe told the Daily Echo: Strikers thrive on goals and it was a fantastic finish. Thats what Alan is all about he is a scorer of great goals. He has worked extremely hard in training and has always given 100 per cent whenever he has come on. As he missed pre-season, there was always going to be a period for him to adjust and to regain his fitness. He is looking fit, strong and sharp and I dont hesitate to put him in. When he gets his chance, he has to take it, like he did against Grimsby. He is a little unfortunate because hes got Brett Pitman and Steve Fletcher as competition and they have both been outstanding. But competition can only benefit the team and, if Alan keeps scoring and playing well, he will keep his place. Connell also netted in Cherries Johnstones Paint Trophy win over Yeovil last month, dedicating his goal to the memory of his late mother Sue, who passed away in March. And after bagging Cherries opener against Grimsby, he immediately made a beeline for the touchline to acknowledge his father Vic, who was seated in the Main Stand. Connell told the Echo: My mum and dad loved coming to Dean Court to watch us. They travelled from Enfield for most of our games. My dad missed my goal against Yeovil so I know he will have been delighted to have been here. Hes had a really difficult time and hopefully that will help cheer him up. You have to savour moments like that because you have a lot of lows in football, as I have experienced. I just hope I can kick on from here. The most important thing was that we extended our lead at the top of the table. We are really happy about that but nobody is getting carried away.
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