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Marc of Championship quality

11 October 2013

By Tony Leighton

Marc Pugh is in the first Sky Bet Championship season of his career at the age of 26 - and the Bournemouth winger is loving it.

Former Bury, Shrewsbury Town and Hereford United wide man Pugh has looked every inch a Championship player in the Cherries' fine start to the campaign following their promotion from League 1.

Eddie Howe's team are lying eighth in the table and Pugh, who began his career at Burnley but never made the first team, told football-league.co.uk: "It's been an eye-opener stepping up to the Championship, but I'm really enjoying it.

"The full-backs in the division are quicker and stronger than lower down in The League, so you have to find different ways to outwit them.

"I don't have lightning pace, I'm more of a technical player, so I look for pockets of space, play little one-twos - anything that can get me past the full-back."

Pugh has found his way past enough full-backs to hit a couple of goals as well as providing assists for colleagues in Bournemouth's first 11 Championship games.

The Cherries have suffered a couple of heavy defeats - they lost 6-1 at Watford and 5-1 at Huddersfield Town - but each time they bounced back with a victory. And last Saturday they turned a 2-0 deficit into a 5-2 win against Millwall.

Pugh said: "We've got a lot of quality in the team but lots of character too, which showed in the way we responded after the results at Watford and Huddersfield.

"Against Millwall at our place last week we started slowly, but we always believe we can score goals at home and after we'd pulled one back we were superb in the second half - Millwall just couldn't live with us.

"I feel that we've adapted to the Championship really well and shown that we're not here just to make up the numbers. But we do need to tighten up away from home - we've only got one away win and we need to improve on that.

"Our next two games are both away, at Nottingham Forest and Leicester, and they're going to be very tough tests against two of the best teams in the division."

Bournemouth's away game that follows those two trips to the East Midlands is at current leaders Burnley, a fixture that is of special importance to Pugh.

"Playing Burnley at Turf Moor is going to be massive for me," said the Lancashire lad. "I came up through the ranks there but they released me while I was still a youngster - I love the club though, and it will be great to go back.

"I've got mates who are Burnley fans and I want to go back and show the supporters that I'm good enough to play in the Championship."

Pugh is already proving his worth in the division - so stand by, Turf Moor.

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