Cherries: Fletcher makes a playing pledge
INSPIRATIONAL target man Steve Fletcher insists he still has a major role to play in Cherries' promotion push both on and off the pitch. Fletcher has been used sparingly since he linked up with Lee Bradbury to take on the team management duties nine weeks ago. Assistant boss Fletcher was instrumental in helping Bradbury open his tenure with a 10-match unbeaten run, a club record for a new manager. The experienced campaigner came off the bench in all 10 games, making telling contributions in crucial wins at Plymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge. And, as well as hitting the winner at Home Park and providing the assist for Anton Robinson to sink the Daggers, Fletcher's defensive qualities have also been vital. The 38-year-old has predominately come on as a second-half substitute for Michael Symes, who has been in a rich vein of form under Bradbury and Fletcher. However, since injury forced Symes out of a 2-0 reverse at Exeter, Cherries' fortunes have taken a turn for the worse with three defeats and a solitary goal checking their progress. Teenagers Danny Ings and Lauri Dalla Valle have been asked to shoulder the striking responsibilities in Cherries' past two games, with Fletcher again used from the bench. But the decision to pair the diminutive frontmen has failed to have the desired effect and could see Bradbury opt to change things for the visit of Charlton on Saturday. And with Symes still troubled by a nagging groin complaint, the door could be open for Fletcher to make his first start since New Year's Day. Fletcher told the Daily Echo: When we were asked to take over, I said I wanted to keep playing and the chairman was happy with that. I haven't played a great deal but that is because Michael Symes has done so well for us. When we came in, we knew we had to get him fit because he was going to be a big player for us. We also knew I wouldn't always be in a position to start every game and play 90 minutes, sometimes twice a week. Symesey did ever so well when he came in and kept me out, which was fine. We were winning and he was scoring goals and playing well. You don't change a winning formula and that kept me on the bench. We haven't had the results we would have wanted in our past three games. It would be easy to look back and say we should have done this or that but we made our decision based on lots of factors. We will have to wait and see whether I will start in the near future. A lot depends on Symesey and who we are playing. We always analyse the opposition to see which is the best way to play. There are lots of things to consider. I've played 90 minutes a couple of times this season and also played 70 and 80 minutes. Just because I'm on the coaching side now, it doesn't mean I don't want to play. It is moments like Plymouth and Dagenham that make you want to keep playing.
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