Bournemouth: Can Howe drag his Cherries out of the drop zone?

Almost going unmissed in the Premier League in the last few weeks is the alarming descent from Bournemouth into the relegation zone. 

Five weeks ago the Cherries were sitting in mid-table, as close to the top six as they were to the bottom three, however a horrendous run of form through December has pushed Eddie Howe’s side into a battle for survival for the second half of the season.

Just one win has materialised for Bournemouth during that period, against an inconsistent Chelsea side and whilst the likes of Everton, Southampton and to a lesser extent West Ham have all picked up points, the Cherries are now looking over their shoulders knowing they must start to deliver once again.

The weekend home defeat to fast improving Watford only added to the bad run Bournemouth and Howe find themselves on and it’s difficult to see where the next points are coming from.

The remainder of this month however gives them a good chance of getting back on track as they face the only side below them and also the small matter of a South Coast derby when Brighton & Hove Albion visit the Vitality Stadium and whilst those games won’t define their season, damaging defeats will only add to the lack of belief that will begin to filter from the supporters to the players and vice versa.

Howe’s name is often mentioned when managerial jobs are available across the Premier League and was even mentioned as a possible candidate for the England job before Gareth Southgate’s appointment. As with any job in this league there is a growing clamour for English managers to be given a chance inside one of the bigger clubs, and with funds limited Howe might have taken the club as far as he can. A bigger budget makes all the difference at any level in today’s football and one can wonder whether Howe casts envious glances to those further up the table.

Howe has an eye for the right player to develop on the South Coast which is seen as attractive for any owner to save some money, Nathan Aske, Callum Wilson and Josh King have fitted seamlessly into the Cherries line up over the last two years and its those bargains that Howe has to make materialise to keep the Cherries competitive.

It can be argued that with limited facilities, a stadium that can only house just under 12,000 supporters and a budget which at a point won’t be enough to sustain the club at Premier League level, Bournemouth have punched above their weight for the five seasons they’ve remained in the top division and that Howe has taken them as far as he can.

There hasn’t been much interest in their players in the January transfer window so far and Howe will be confident he can keep the side together in order to push away from the relegation zone.

It also doesn’t appear the Cherries are going to be very active in bringing new players into the club unless there are departures so Howe will need to restore confidence in the squad he has or there is a distinct possibility that Bournemouth’s time in the Premier League will be over.

Follow Trevor on Twitter @trevk37

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