sport

Cherries look to pick up a shock

Bournemouth's players will take the field in their FA Cup third-round replay against Wigan on Tuesday looking to make history.

A cup upset against Roberto Martinez's men would not only set up a trip to Blue Square Premier outfit Macclesfield in the fourth round, it would also extend the League One side's unbeaten run to 19 games - breaking a 31-year club record.

In 1982 Dave Webb, assisted by Harry Redknapp, managed the Cherries to promotion thanks to an 18-game unbeaten streak which the team of 2013 equalled with a 1-1 draw at home to Swindon on Saturday.

It means they have failed to taste defeat since Eddie Howe returned from Burnley to manage the club for the second time back in October. And until their recent run of three successive draws the Cherries had won 12 of those 15 games.

That form has rocketed them from 21st place into the promotion picture and set up this replay with Wigan in front of a full house at the Goldsands Stadium.

The first meeting between the sides earlier this month saw Eunan O'Kane's sensational strike cancelled out by Jordi Gomez but there was little to suggest it was a cup tie between teams separated by two divisions.

And defender Tommy Elphick is relishing the chance to cross swords with their Premier League opponents once again.

"We are on a high and playing with real confidence at the moment and won't be expected to win, so there's no pressure on us," he told the club's official website.

"The last few games have taken a lot out of us but it's always a great experience to play against a Premier League team.

"We've got a winning mentality and all the lads will want to prove themselves against a top team."

Equalling the record on Saturday was some consolation to a group of players irked by having to settle for a point against their promotion rivals thanks to Andy Williams' 85th-minute equaliser in very difficult conditions.

And Elphick knows his side, tired from a gruelling 90 minutes, will need to be at their best to cause a cup upset.

"It's a marvellous feat by all the lads and it's going to take another really good team to do it again," he said.

"We were aware of the record and spoke about it before the game on Saturday, and it's a great statistic to help pick us up because everyone was disappointed not to get the three points.

"It's a massive opportunity for us to break the record against a Premier League side and it would be really fitting if we could.

"With the position we were in earlier in the season, we had to go on a run like this and we won't be looking to stop at 18. We will be looking to extend it for a lot longer."

Howe has no fresh injury worries for the sold-out visit of the top-flight strugglers although he looks likely to rotate his goalkeepers once more. Shwan Jalal has been a regular in the cup competitions this season and the 29-year-old looks likely to get the nod instead of former England international David James, a player seven years older than his manager.

Top-scorer Lewis Grabban was a big doubt for Swindon due to illness but the striker played for 90 minutes against the Robins and is set to retain his place.

Fellow striker Wes Thomas, back with the club following a loan spell at Blackpool, made his first appearance for other two months for the Cherries on Saturday and could feature on the bench again.

Victory for Bournemouth, who overcame Dagenham and Carlisle to reach this stage, would set up a trip to Moss Rose later this month and pocket the club 67,500 in prize money.