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Richie going for a treble

29 March 2013

By Tony Leighton

Bournemouth's Matt Ritchie is hoping to complete a double in successive seasons that could put him in line for an unprecedented Football League Awards hat-trick.

Last term, the former Portsmouth winger was named npower League 2 Player of the Year as he helped his then club Swindon Town to promotion as champions.

Now, two months after joining Bournemouth from the Robins, he has won the League 1 Player of the Year award and could be set for another promotion.

And if his third in the table team do indeed climb up to the Championship, then Ritchie could be in with a chance of another big individual triumph.

Not that the 23-year-old is thinking along those lines. When football-league.co.uk put that dream-like scenario to him, he exclaimed: "Hang on a minute!

"It's fantastic, unbelievable, to have won the Player of the Year award two years in a row. But it's great just to think I might be in the Championship next season.

"That's the aim of everybody at Bournemouth, and to get promoted would be absolutely brilliant, but it's very tight at the top and it's going to be a real battle."

The Cherries were superbly placed to win the promotion battle when they went top of the table in mid-February following a run of five successive victories.

Amazingly, however, they then suffered five defeats in a row - two of them at home to promotion rivals Sheffield United and current leaders Doncaster Rovers.

But in roller-coaster style they have bounced back, winning each of their last three outings to sit level on points with second-placed Swindon.

So Ritchie is aiming to out-do his old club among others as he looks to help his new team reach the Championship - ideally through automatic promotion.

"A top-two finish would be brilliant," said Ritchie, who hit his first Bournemouth goal in last Saturday's 4-1 home victory over relegation threatened Bury.

"But," the winger quickly pointed out, "most of the teams we're fighting it out with have got games in hand on us and so it's going to be far from easy.

"We've got ourselves out of a disappointing run though, and all we can do now is concentrate on ourselves and just try to keep the wins coming.

"We've got six games left to play, and we'll be going out to win every one of them - and hopefully come the end of the season we'll be a Championship club."

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