Elphick excited with challenge

Date published: Wednesday 17th June 2015 10:17

The south coast club will play their first ever game in the top flight of English football when they host Aston Villa at Goldsands on Saturday, August 8.

Last season’s Championship winners will then travel to Liverpool and West Ham, before returning home to entertain Leicester in their final match of the month. 

Speaking to Sky Sports News HQ, Elphick said: “I’m just pleased we are at home first as it gives everybody something to look forward to and focus on now.

“We’re back a week on Saturday, I’m sure the lads will be at home watching the fixtures come out and be buzzing to get back training now. It’s great, even when you look right down to the bottom, teams like Manchester United away on the last day, there’s so much to look forward to .

“I’m really happy we’re going to Liverpool early. It’s all about getting in the team now and being as fit as possible and as ready as possible for them games. Some huge challenges await.

“Watford and Norwich, who were really hard teams to face last year, and they seem to be our easiest games this year, the teams who came up, and obviously we’ll all be looking to take points off of each other.

“But they were real tough games for us last year, so it just shows the magnitude of what we’re going into, and there are some really exciting games and some lovely grounds to go to.

‘All guns blazing’

“So it’s a challenge that we’ve really got to enjoy and embrace and meet head on. The end of the season is going to be really tough for us, so it’s going to be important to get off to a good start and get as many points as early as possible.”

On the last day of October the Cherries face a derby against Southampton at St Mary’s, with the return in late March, and Elphick says fans and players alike will relish the challenge. 

“It’ll be big. I think the last couple of years our nearest games have been Brighton, so it’s been quite a travel for them,” he said. “And for them to have another local derby to look forward to is going to be great. That is a real one for the fans and one that will have to be all guns blazing.” 

The last six games of the campaign are possibly the toughest run Bournemouth will face with the return fixtures against Villa and Liverpool preceding an away game with Everton in between visits from Chelsea and West Brom, before the final match at Old Trafford.

But Elphick insists his side will not be intimidated, adding: “We have to get over the fact that we’re grateful to be there now. We’re there for a reason, on merit and we don’t want to be just making up the numbers.

“I think at every stage in the Premier League you are going to be involved in a really hard run. Looking at ours it is obviously going to come in the last six games.

“It’s going to be really important that we put as many points on the board as possible and hopefully if we can be nigh on safe coming into those fixtures everybody would be buzzing because we could still have a real hand in the title maybe.

“That could be a period that we’re really looking forward to. The mentality of our squad and our group is you are always looking for the next challenge, so as soon as we won the league and enjoyed it together, everybody was looking for this day and for fixtures to come out.”

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