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First team

Zemura: You always set yourself targets

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth’s man of the moment Jordan Zemura admits his start to the season has exceeded expectations but is quietly confident there is more to come.

Zemura capped a memorable spell of games by winning the supporters’ player of the month for August, the award sponsored by Michael Matthews Jewellery.

The 21-year-old seized his chance after coming off the bench to replace Jack Stacey four minutes before half-time in the 5-0 win over MK Dons in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Zimbabwe international Zemura kept his place for the Cherries’ Championship curtain-raiser against West Brom and had a hand in Phil Billing’s goal in a 2-2 draw.

Zemura has played every minute of the Cherries’ five league games, his exploits helping them remain unbeaten thanks to wins over Nottingham Forest and Birmingham City and draws against Blackpool and Hull City.

Asked whether the first month had gone better than he had anticipated from a personal point of view, Zemura told afcb.co.uk: “I guess so but you always set yourself targets.

“Before the season started, I spoke to Ally Harris, our head of performance, and said I was eyeing the MK Dons game, thinking I could get some minutes to show what I can do.

“Next thing I know, I played something like 400 minutes in August! It was a whirlwind and I loved every minute of it.”

News of Zemura’s award was particularly well received on Isle of Sheppey where his family lives and in Zimbabwe where he has a number of relations.

“It was amazing!” he added. “There was a lot of good energy from people, people in Bournemouth, people back home and people in Zimbabwe.

“I was very grateful to have so much love and affection from a lot of people. It wouldn’t have happened without the constant support of people behind me who want me to succeed.

“Even though I won the award, it feels like they have won it as well, so I’d like to say thank you and it’s only the beginning.”

Zemura, who joined the club following a successful trial spell at the end of the 2018/19 season, will be hoping to maintain his impressive form when Scott Parker’s team host Barnsley on Saturday, the first of two games in four days at Vitality Stadium with QPR the visitors on Tuesday.

The buccaneering left-back said: “With back-to-back home games, it’s going to be quite intense but it’s nothing we’re not used to.

“We played a few games in August and had away games against Forest and Birmingham in the space of five days so it will be good to be at home.

“We are up against two very good teams. Barnsley are very high press and direct and QPR have some very good individual players.

“Like us, Barnsley reached the play-offs last season and QPR have made a good start to the season and are unbeaten, as are we.

“It’s going to be a good challenge for us. We’re at home, we’ve got players coming back and we’ve got new signings. We can’t wait to get back playing in front of our supporters.

“We are happy with where we are after the first five games. We would like to have won at Hull because that would have made it a great start. We are looking to build on what we’ve done so far.”

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