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Cherries: No easy ride during run-in says boss Howe
Starting with tomorrow’s visit to struggling Oldham, Cherries have eight games remaining – with six against teams currently battling for survival in the bottom eight.
Seventh-placed Cherries reignited their promotion hopes thanks to a hard-earned midweek win at Stevenage, a result which halted a run of five successive defeats.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “I don’t think it is the time of year when you can look at the fixtures and try to work out where you think teams are going to pick up points. It is totally unpredictable.
“You have got teams fighting for their lives and we were in that position ourselves a few seasons ago.
“We know how it can motivate you and how your fortunes can change very quickly. We are going to need to be at our best in all our remaining games.
“In saying that, I believe we are capable of winning them all. We seem to have been a team this season that has gone on runs, either victories or defeats. Hopefully, the win against Stevenage can kick us on to another run of victories.
“I don’t think it matters who you play and we don’t look at whether our opponents are near the bottom or the top of the table.
“You prepare for every game on their strengths and weaknesses and not necessarily on their position in the league. It may well play a part in terms of the crowd and then you have to adjust accordingly.
“You can’t look three or four games down the line.
“My only focus at the moment is with Oldham and it is going to be a difficult game. If we could manage to get another win then we have got a good run of home fixtures and it will be great to be back in front of our own supporters and try to put our home form right.”
Oldham, who took Everton to an FA Cup fifth round replay after eliminating Doncaster Rovers, Nottingham Forest and Liverpool, currently occupy the final relegation berth but do have games in hand on their rivals.
The Latics parted company with manager Paul Dickov in early February following a run of 10 defeats in 14 League One matches, including a 4-1 reverse against Cherries at Dean Court in November.
Under caretaker boss Tony Philliskirk, their fortunes improved with a run of three successive victories against MK Dons, Stevenage and Portsmouth.
Howe added: “I am surprised at their league position because they are a good side with some good experienced players.
“When we played them here in November, it was a tough first half and they gave us a good game. We did really well in the second half.
“We have played them many times down the years and it is always a difficult game. They have got games in hand after their FA Cup run so their league position is slightly false.”
Meanwhile, Cherries have released development squad quartet Alex Moth, Ryan Case, Clive Makoni and Jamal Bajandouh.