Date: 18th September 2008 at 5:28pm
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Stuart McCall was set to name Bournemouth as promotion contenders until the Football League slapped them with a 17 point deduction which so far they have struggled to make inroads into.

Speaking to the Telegraph & Argus, the Ginger Messiah said ‘I don`t know the ins and outs and all the regulations so I`m not qualified to say whether it was the right punishment. But I was disappointed for all three clubs.

I remember hoping that Bournemouth would stay up because of the fantastic run they`d been on. I tipped them to be really strong contenders because of that, not knowing they would have the points taken off.’

And despite almost saving themselves with a tremendous run-in the patience with Kevin Bond didn’t last long this year and he got the boot two weeks ago.

So, given that the Cherries have yet to win everyone (myself included) is tipping the Bantams for victory but in response to the suggestion of a home banker, Stuart McCall is urging caution ‘there isn`t such a thing in this game. That`s the beauty of football – or the mischief.

If we perform with the lethargy of the first half last week then anyone can beat us. Likewise, if we show the ability of the second half then we`ll have a good chance of beating any team in this division.’

Exeter’s Paul Tisdale referred to the Bantams as the benchmark for the season whilst Port Vale’s fans couldn’t believe that despite playing their best football of the season they were made to look distinctly average by Stuart McCall’s men.

However, Stuart is quick to point out that this is a great start but doesn’t mean that every passage of play is going to go our way as he continued ‘there will be times when players have a dip in form. That`s only natural. Some are playing at the top of their game at the minute. If they kept that up every week, they`d be doing it in the Premiership.

I`d love them to continue but I`m not silly enough to think it will happen for 46 matches.

But there are lots of different ways to win football matches and if we have to battle and scrap it out at times, then we will. As long as we always play with enthusiasm.

The two centre halves had their most disappointing game as a pair last week but everyone else pulled them through it. This is a team game, not just about individuals, although we have players performing out of their skins right now.’

Two of those players are the deadly strike pairing of Peter Thorne and Michael Boulding. Thorney’s back has kept him out of training for parts of this week but he’s now back in with the squad where Stuart said ‘there are lads snapping at their heels to get involved.’

It looks increasingly likely that Saturday’s starting 11 will be the same as last week’s, notwithstanding any last minute crises.

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