by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admitted tomorrow’s Brighton clash is a ‘really big game’ – but also stated his players were ‘excited’ to do battle with their south coast counterparts.
Amidst a poor run of results, Cherries will be looking to secure only their second Premier League victory in eight fixtures.
The Dorset club’s campaign took a further blow after a mid-week defeat against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, as Eden Hazard’s deflected strike knocked Cherries out of the competition and scattered hopes of the club’s first piece of silverware since lifting the Championship trophy in 2015.
But boss Howe reflected on the positives from south-west London, ahead of tomorrow’s battle with the Seagulls:
“We’re excited by the challenge, and boosted by our performance in mid-week, albeit a defeat. There were so many positives to take from the game, we’re still in a very good position to move forward into a congested festive period.
“But this game will be really important for us, we want the supporters really behind the game to back us. We’ll need everyone’s support.”
The same fixture last season brought an end to four consecutive defeats for Cherries, as Jermain Defoe netted a second-half winner to spark a remarkable climb up the table for Howe’s side.
And the Bournemouth boss admitted his men were in need of a similar result tomorrow:
Howe said: “Last year was a different situation – it was a really important win for us, and gave us the spark that our season needed at that stage. You could say there are similarities to this moment, where we perhaps need that performance and result to link together, to get our second wind. We’re very confident and hopeful we can deliver that.”
Chris Hughton’s Brighton currently sit 13th in the Premier League standings, and his opposite number heaped praise on the ex-Newcastle manager:
“Any game against Chris Hughton’s Brighton is a really tough game. They’ve done as superbly as well, as we have, in their journey through the leagues and they now sit in the Premier League and deservedly so. They’ve done very well this season, and continue to get good results.”
Kick off at Vitality Stadium is 3:00pm tomorrow.