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Cherries: Jalal reveals meetings helped iron out issues
Published : 14 May 2011 07:00:00
GOALKEEPER Shwan Jalal has revealed how a couple of players' meetings helped revive Cherries' stuttering promotion bid. Jalal admitted there had been fears among Lee Bradbury's squad that a dip in results could have cost them a place in the play-offs. Bradbury's tenure started with an impressive 10-match unbeaten run which hoisted Cherries into an automatic promotion berth in early March. However, an alarming seven-game winless sequence then saw Bradbury's men slip out of the top six to leave their promotion chances in the balance. But while their rivals imploded, Cherries managed to hold their nerve during the run-in and secured their place with a game to spare. Jalal, voted PFA supporters' player of the month for January, was plagued by a persistent back injury as Cherries faltered in March. Speaking to the Daily Echo during the club's play-off press call, the 27-year-old said: I think it is an outstanding achievement considering we were one of the favourites for relegation. We were quietly confident we could do something this season, as we had been last season. It is testament to the boys and how hard we have worked. I think we have deserved it. Sometimes, doubt does creep in but it shows you care. Everybody was a little concerned at the sequence of results we had after we had gone 10 unbeaten. But we had a couple of meetings among the players and ironed out a few things. We have got a fantastic bunch of players and, when you take into account everything we have been through together, what happened during those seven games was a minor blip. Everybody is confident we can achieve something going into the play-offs. Jalal, who will line up in Cherries' semi-final, first leg against Huddersfield tomorrow, again enjoyed a fruitful campaign, in what was his first season in the third flight. And while a number of other players believe the Terriers will be licking their wounds after failing to clinch automatic promotion despite ending the season with a 25-match unbeaten run, Jalal begs to differ. He said: Knowing the way players operate, I don't think it will have any bearing. They have got momentum and know that if they can carry on their unbeaten run, they could be in the Championship next season. It will be up to us to give a good account of ourselves and go into the games with every confidence that we can secure a positive outcome. Unbeaten records are there to be broken. We gave them a match both times we played them this season and they scored a late equaliser here. I think both teams will show an immense amount of respect for one another. In any other season, 87 points probably would have been enough for automatic promotion but it just shows the calibre of teams in this division and shows how well we have done to be alongside these teams.