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Cherries: Morrell backing Howe's men in promotion tilt
Published : 11 Dec 2010 07:00:00
PAUL Morrell believes Cherries will need luck and a clean bill of health if they are to match the achievements of Harry Redknapp's class of 87. Morrell starred at left-back as Redknapp plotted Cherries' path to the second tier of the Football League for the first and only time in their history. He missed just one game as Cherries clinched the old third division title before going on to play more than 100 times during the club's three-year stay in the second flight. Morrell, eighth in the club's list of all-time leading appearance-makers, has been a regular supporter during Eddie Howe's reign and has been impressed with the brand of football on display. Now 49 and working as a probation service officer, Morrell will today be one of a numbers of ex-players to be introduced to the crowd as Cherries mark the forthcoming centenary of Dean Court. Morrell, who also scored the winner in Cherries' Associate Members' Cup final triumph against Hull City in 1984, told the Daily Echo: I never doubted that they would hold their own in League One. They have got some quality players and Eddie and Jason are doing a terrific job. The financial problems must be in the back of his mind, but Eddie concentrates solely on the football side of things and has transformed them. The players have taken promotion in their stride and they look a confident group. They pass the ball well and their fitness levels are superb. The squad is bigger than in the previous couple of seasons and it has more depth now. Eddie has instilled a winning mentality into the players and they are well equipped to sustain their challenge. A lot of it will come down to staying injury free and avoiding suspensions. You also need a bit of luck and we certainly rode ours at times. We didn't win a game during pre-season and had to have crisis talks. I won't say what Harry said because it is unrepeatable! Harry was a great motivator and Eddie seems the same. We weren't a brilliant side but our work-ethic and team spirit were second to none. That's what got us through. We had a winning mentality and would take to the pitch thinking we were always going to win. They are looking formidable at home. If they can keep clear of injuries and remain in the hunt into early next year, there is no reason why they shouldn't make the play-offs or go up automatically. Morrell, one of a number of outstanding left-backs to have played for Cherries, has also been impressed with the current incumbent Rhoys Wiggins, who is today due to make his 50th league start for the club. I think he is a quality player, said Morrell. He's got terrific pace, he likes to get forward and he uses the ball well. I've been impressed with him ever since he first arrived on loan. Warren Cummings is another excellent left-back and he has found it difficult to get his place back. For Rhoys to keep him out, he must be doing very well.