Home News Will Bournemouth’s late charge end with a place in the play-offs?

Will Bournemouth’s late charge end with a place in the play-offs?

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The 2020/21 English Championship season is gearing up for a very exciting ending. With six games left to play between now and the end of the season, Norwich City have all but wrapped up the title. However, the play-offs are still wide open and even Watford aren’t safe in second.

Outside of the top two, Bournemouth are arguably the in-form team at the minute. Jonathan Woodgate’s men are currently seventh in the table. But they have a game in hand over both Reading (6th) and Barnsley (5th), and there is no doubt that the teams above them will be looking over their shoulders in fear as the Cherries continue to close the gap.

Now three league games unbeaten, Bournemouth are on their best run of form since Woodgate took over from Jason Tindall in February. Convincing victories over Swansea City (3-0), Woodgate’s former team Middlesbrough (3-1) and most recently Blackburn Rovers (2-0) has moved the Cherries to within just a point of Reading and a victory over Coventry on Saturday afternoon could see them move into the play-offs, should other results go their way.

However, whilst Bournemouth are currently riding the crest of a wave, it’s worth noting that their form overall under the guidance of Woodgate has been somewhat hit and miss and with still six games remaining of the season, Bournemouth’s fans won’t be saving up for their Premier League season tickets for next campaign just yet.

Further evidence of just how much of a mixed bag Bournemouth can be is the fact that Woodgate boasts a 50 percent win rate since taking the reins at the Vitality Stadium. It was a good start to his managerial career on the south coast with victories over Birmingham City and Rotherham on either side of a draw with Forest.

However, successive defeats against Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City followed. It seemed the Cherries were back on track with fantastic wins over Watford and Bristol City, only for them to go two more games without a victory, as they drew with Preston North End and lost to promotion rivals Barnsley.

You have to give Woodgate credit for their current run of three wins. It seems he has finally steadied the ship and found a winning formula. The task now is ensuring that his side keep it up for the remainder of the season. Just one more run of two or three games without a victory could end Bournemouth’s promotion hopes.

With the likes of Lewis Cook, Dominic Solanke, Philip Billing, David Brooks, Steve Cook, Lloyd Kelly, Jefferson Lerma and Asmir Begović, they certainly have the side to be in, and potentially even win, the play-offs. In fact, only Brentford are ahead of them in the Championship odds for play-off winners.

However, the Bees are another side who are incredibly inconsistent. Thomas Frank’s men have missed opportunity-after-opportunity to get their foot in the door of automatic promotion and their fans must be dreading the prospect of the play-offs again after last year’s crushing defeat to west London rivals Fulham.

If Woodgate and his players can keep up their good form between now and the end of the season, it’s almost certain they will secure a play-off place. One or two more victories and they really will start believing, and if they can finish the season as the in-form team, then they have every chance of earning their place back in the Premier League.

comeontheoviedo
Old-school FM/CM player, author of 'Johnny Cooper: Championship Manager' and someone who now very much starts a save and quits halfway through...

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