Cherries: Essex connection a spur for Purches
STEPHEN Purches is desperate to prove his fitness in time to face the neighbour who could have altered his career path. Purches was raised in the same Essex manor as Dagenham & Redbridge boss John Still, who had an opportunity to sign him when he was manager of Barnet 10 years ago. But the former West Ham trainee moved to Cherries and went on to become one of the club's leading appearance-makers in his first spell at Dean Court. Purches, who rejoined Cherries from Leyton Orient in the summer, is hoping to overcome a nagging rib injury and renew acquaintances with Still when he brings the Daggers to Dorset tomorrow. The 30-year-old utility man is today expected to be put through his paces in training before boss Eddie Howe makes a final decision on his fitness. Purches told the Daily Echo: I've known John for a long time and he has done an amazing job with Dagenham & Redbridge. He's very passionate about his Essex roots and about what he's doing at the football club. He signed my brother when he was at Barnet and also show-ed an interest in me just before I left West Ham. Fortunately for me, coming to Bournemouth worked out perfectly. Purches, who is currently Cherries' 17th leading league appearance-maker with 248, added: I took a knock to my ribs against Peterborough and have been struggling to breathe at times. I had an X-ray which showed nothing was broken and have been seeing a chiropractor. Hopefully, everything is heading in the right direction and I'll be in contention for the game. A second-half substitute during Cherries' opener at Charlton, Purches started the next five league and cup games before the injury ruled him out of the trip to Huddersfield six days ago. Asked for his thoughts on the season so far, he replied: It could have gone better with regards to dropping points against Notts County but, hopefully, that will be a lesson we can take into the rest of the season. I have never been involved in a team or with a bunch of lads that wants to do so well. It's been brilliant. We're playing well and everyone knows what they're doing so that can only be a good thing. Daggers, promoted via the League Two play-offs, were one of only four teams that Cherries failed to beat on their way to finishing as runners-up last season. Boss Howe said: They deserve a lot of credit for what they have achieved with limited resources. They will be looking to kick on again and I'm sure they will. We struggled a bit against them last season. It was a disappointing game at home and we didn't get going. It was played in poor weather conditions and was difficult to get the ball down and play due to the wind. We didn't perform too well in the away game and they nicked it with a penalty. We have to learn from those games because it is never easy when you play Dagenham. They work very hard and that is one of their great strengths. We know we are going to have to work hard in order to get anything from the game. Cherries: (from) Jalal, Bradbury, Garry, Pearce, Wiggins, Cooper, Feeney, Bartley, Robinson, Pugh, McQuoid, Cummings, Hollands, Arter, Stockley, Taylor, Nelson, Ings, Symes, Purches, Partington. Daggers: (from) Roberts, Doe, Arber, Vincelot, McCrory, Green, Currie, Ogogo, Gain, Scott, Tomlin, Antwi, Gwillim, Montgomery, Lewis, Bingham, Nurse, Wilkinson, Lewington.
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