In the latter stages of Bournemouth’s 0-0 draw at Sheffield United, manager Scott Parker was forced to make a substitution by a Jordan Zemura injury after he went down clutching his hamstring looking in clear discomfort. In what could be a precious point on the road for Parker’s men against promotion rivals, the injury sustained by the Bournemouth academy product may prove to be a symbol of a tough promotion run-in ahead.
Jordan Zemura Injury: Sign of a Tough Promotion Run-in
Jordan Zemura Injury Could See Him Out for Rest of Season
In a hard-fought encounter between two sides scrambling for promotion to the Premier League, the Cherries had to dig deep to secure a point on the road at Bramall Lane against a game Sheffield United who have experienced a strong transformation since manager Paul Heckingbottom took the reins at the Yorkshire club.
However, the intensity of the Championship is beginning to show – if it wasn’t already – and test the fitness and drive of these squads to get over the line. The injury sustained by Zemura is an inevitability for any side, especially in the Championship where the fixtures come thick and fast and the case is no different for Bournemouth with their tough promotion run-in as injury threats may impact the way the remaining fixtures are approached.
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The Zimbabwe international came through the academy and has quickly become a solid full-back option in the league amongst other academy graduates that have burst onto the scene for the Dorset club this season such as Jaidon Anthony and Gavin Kilkenny. Across 30 league appearances, Zemura has registered three goals and one assist from defence.
With the full severity of the injury not yet known, a hamstring injury could rule out the 22-year-old for the remaining fixtures ahead where the Cherries face a stacked run-in fighting for automatic promotion back to the Premier League.
Fixture Congestion Is the Cause for Parker
Scott Parker previously stressed the psychological element of the promotion charge this season. However, Zemura’s injury is a sign of the physical toll as a product of fixture congestion in the Championship where the unforgiving turnaround between games does not allow players to fully recover.
Talking to DorsetLive after the 0-0 draw at Sheffield United, Parker said: “It doesn’t look great. I’m not surprised because you’re asking a human being to play in a three-game week and two of them are away games. As I said, the turnaround is remarkable today.”
The turnaround Parker is referencing is the 2-0 midweek defeat at West Bromwich Albion which saw Steve Bruce’s side triumph producing another blip in Bournemouth’s campaign. There was only two days for recovery before the south-coast club travelled to Bramall Lane for a 12:45 pm kick-off against United.
Standing in Bournemouth’s Way
As the Championship season nears its conclusion, Bournemouth’s remaining fixtures do not look particularly favourable in their challenging promotion run-in. Five of their remaining seven opponents are situated in the top half of the table barring Swansea City and Coventry City.
Despite being second in the automatic promotion spot, the remaining fixtures will see Bournemouth pitted against the likes of Middlesbrough and Blackburn Rovers as well as an enticing encounter top of the table clash with league leaders Fulham.
Nottingham Forest have also emerged as serious contenders for promotion this season thanks to the magnificent turnaround Steve Cooper has orchestrated following the departure of Chris Hughton early in the season. At the time of writing, Forest are six points off the automatic promotion place and look like a genuine threat to a Bournemouth side who need to be at their best to secure a return to the Premier League.
However, as the injury suffered by Zemura indicates, factors such as fatigue really begin to show at this stage of the season when room for error becomes minimal for all teams. Squad rotation may be significant for Parker if they are going to achieve their goal this season as the promotion race hots up.
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