A new look midfield trio at Vitality Stadium of Gavin Kilkenny, Phil Billing and Emi Marcondes has impressed Scott Parker as several key players remain absent for the Cherries
Louis Cook is recovering from a long term ACL injury and is not being rushed back to action, whilst Ben Pearson has only just returned to training having been unwell during pre-season. Jefferson Lerma was handed a six-game ban for violent conduct relating to an incident last season and is still unavailable for four more games.
Kilkenny, Billing and Marcondes therefore all started against MK Dons and West Brom as a midfield three, with Irishman Kilkenny impressing in the number six role while Danish duo Billing and Marcondes have been a threat in more advanced roles.
The three midfielders had not played together prior to Parker’s arrival at the club with Marcondes only joining in the summer and Kilkenny only playing a handful of games last season as he emerged from the club’s academy system, and the link up between the trio is testament to Parker’s training ground methods.
Speaking to Nerve Sport ahead of the EFL Championship tie with Nottingham Forest, the Bournemouth head coach said: “We have been working a lot on that as a whole team really, drilling the team, understanding relationships together, what is expected of them in and out of possession has been key.
“Regarding the two forward boys, in Phil and Emi, goals and assists have been pivotal to that, getting in the box, arriving in the box, constantly being a goal threat, so I was very pleased they both scored in that sense.”
Billing has now scored in both of Parker’s first two competitive matches, while Marcondes scored his first league goal for the south coast side against West Brom and Parker is keen to see both players continue to contribute at the top end of the pitch.
“Phil now has a couple of goals in a couple of games and needs to add that to his game and I am pleased he has done that along with Emi as well,” he added.
Parker continued by saying that Kilkenny has also “done fantastic” after a Man of the Match performance against MK Dons and another assured display against the Baggies.
It remains to be seen whether the three will maintain their good form as the season progresses but it is positive that with Lerma and Pearson set to return to the fold within several weeks, Parker will have good options going forward in the middle of the park.