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Cherries: Fletch feels side should be aiming higher
Published : 22 Sep 2010 07:00:00
STEVE Fletcher is convinced Eddie Howe's League One freshers are more than capable of holding their own in the third flight and thinks Cherries should set their sights higher. Fletcher, who has been troubled by a nagging heel injury, made his first appearance of the season as a late substitute during Cherries' 2-1 defeat at Oldham on Saturday. It was the 38-year-old striker's first taste of action in the third tier since May 2007, the level Fletcher has performed at for the majority of his illustrious 754-match career. And having watched Howe's League Two runners-up make an impressive start, Fletcher insists there is no reason to suggest they cannot challenge for back-to-back promotions. Cherries' club captain told the Daily Echo: From what I have seen so far, there is nothing to fear in this division. Although it was disappointing to lose at Oldham, we have still made a great start. I know it is early days and nobody is getting carried away. Although people say you will only get an idea of how the league is going to pan out after 10 to 15 games, we proved last season that we could stay there from the start. There is no reason why we can't be in and among it again. We have definitely got the players. We have played some of the established teams in League One and have done very well against them. We have taken the games to teams and, at times, have blown them away. Every player has stepped up a gear from last season and you have to take off your hat to them. We knew we would have to do that just to maintain our status in this division. There is a fine line between doing that and stepping up that little bit extra to be one of the top teams. Fletcher acknowledges Cherries' points haul should have been greater, with aberrations against Notts County and Oldham proving costly. It has been proved that you get punished for any little mistake in this division, said the popular Hartlepudlian. If you switch off for a second, you get punished. There are going to be tough periods and times when everything won't click and those are the times when we will have to grind it out. We had a difficult time after Christmas last season and all the doubters came out and said we would finish mid-table but we proved them wrong. Discussing his Boundary Park cameo, Fletcher said: It wasn't great to come on in a game like that, especially after we had just conceded a second goal, but it was great to be back. It's where I always want to be. I understand I am not going to be able to play as much as I have but I said that last season and ending up playing 45 out of 46 games. I've still got to be careful of my foot and every year does become more difficult. But it was great to get back out there and it was just a shame I couldn't be on the winning side. Whether you are 38 or 18, you want to be on the training pitch and with the boys because the gym can be a very lonely place.