'He'll grow from that' - Parker thrilled to see Stacey battle through 'blip' in form

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Jack Stacey has not missed a minute of Championship action since October
Jack Stacey has not missed a minute of Championship action since October

BOSS Scott Parker praised the way Jack Stacey has battled his way back into form, admitting: "He's come out of a period where I thought he struggled a little bit."

Following a knee injury suffered by fellow right-back Adam Smith in October, Stacey has not missed a minute of Championship action.

That run stretched to 15 full matches, during last weekend's 3-2 defeat at Stacey's former club Luton Town.

The only time the 25-year-old has been afforded a breather from his physically demanding role, was when teenager Nathan Moriah-Welsh filled in, out of position, during the FA Cup win at Yeovil Town.

Stacey has endured some difficult moments during that three-month run of action. He notably conceded a penalty during the loss at Derby County in November, before two weeks later seeing his wayward pass lead to Jefferson Lerma's dismissal in the home draw with Coventry City.

However, with no Smith available to offer Stacey a reprieve, he kept his place in the side.

And the Bracknell-born star appears to have emerged out of other side of his dip, producing an impressive display at Kenilworth Road, providing the assist for Emiliano Marcondes as Cherries battled back into the contest.

Assessing Stacey's 15-game run in the side, Parker told the Daily Echo: "Massive effort from Jack really.

"Physically, his outputs and what is expected and demanded of him in this team as a full-back is probably one of the highest positions on the pitch, other than maybe our midfielders, our ‘eights’.

"It’s an area that you need to have an engine and have the capabilities of getting up and down and Jack probably epitomises that to a tee really.

"I think he’s come out of a period where I thought he struggled a little bit.

"I thought he had a little bit of a blip, Jack. And due to circumstances he stayed in there and has come out the other side.

"I’ve been very, very impressed and pleased with him over the last three or four games, especially Luton.

"I thought he was relentless really, gets us back in the game with that lovely bit of skill and then a lovely execution of a cross, so I’ve been very pleased with him."

Asked if him playing through that tough spell of form will stand him in good stead for any potential future blips, Parker added: "Yeah, definitely. He was in a position where there was no-one.

"I’m sure in different circumstances, sometimes you do take players out during moments like that, just to give them some air.

"We weren’t fortunate enough to do that, he had to ride it. I’m sure if he’d have sunk in that moment, of course we’d have had to have changed things around a little bit, but he showed big character, Jack in those moments.

"Because I think he’d be the first to say there was times there where there was a couple of little mistakes.

"But fair play to him and I’m very pleased with him. He’ll grow from that, for sure. He’ll be stronger for it and a better player, definitely."

While Smith is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, Cherries have this month recruited another right-back in Ethan Laird.

The Manchester United loanee is yet to make his debut and is unlikely to be ready for action until February due to a minor injury himself.

Asked if just the presence of Laird will help Stacey to kick-on even more to try and preserve his spot in the side, Parker said: "A million per cent. Maybe that’s the reason why there has been that turn as well.

"I love that. I remember when I was a player, the first time someone came into the building, instantly it was competition for me.

"He wasn’t going to take my shirt and I’m going to do everything in my power to be better than him – I’m going to be quicker than him, I’m going to be stronger than him, I’m going to run more than him. And I’m just going to make it impossible for this guy to get in front of me.

"I have no doubt in terms of what I’m seeing from Jack, that’s the attitude you want.

"Competition is the best medicine for success really, in teams.

"Jack will have that. Smithy coming back, Ethan coming in as well. At this present moment in time, Jack is showing the qualities that are needed in this team."

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