AFC Bournemouth vs West Bromwich Albion Preview: Howe prepares for “toughest game of the season”

Eddie Howe

Eddie Howe believes this could possibly be the toughest game of the season for AFC Bournemouth as they sit just six points above the relegation zone.

West Bromwich Albion are currently rock bottom of the league and are eight points off safety and will deem this as a must-win game.

The Cherries lost 1-0 on the opening game of the season against the then West Brom manager Tony Pulis.

They are yet to play against a side managed by Alan Pardew this season however last season they managed a win against Pardew’s Crystal Palace side.

Howe wary of West Brom threat

Speaking ahead of the game, Howe said: “I think this could possibly be the toughest game of the season. The difficulty of this game is the expectation will be on us, from everyone outside and everyone inside, they’ll expect us to win.

“Watching West Brom’s previous matches they’ve been very competitive and ended up on the wrong side of the score line through such fine margins.

“The games have been so tight and they’ve been very unlucky in several of them to come away losing, they’re a very competitive Premier League team.

“If the crowd can get behind us and we continue our form here then I back the team to win”, he added.

Regarding West Brom’s seven game losing streak Howe insisted that this had no baring on respect his side will give to the opposition: “I can assure you there’s going to be no complicacy within the dressing room, we know how tough this league is and we respect everybody.

“We respect Alan Pardew and West Brom’s players and we know that they’re good players and they deserve to be in the Premier League”, he continued.

Lewis Cook celebrates Three Lions call-up

AFC Bournemouth midfielder Lewis Cook got called up to the England squad yesterday ahead of the upcoming World Cup friendlies.

“Very, very pleased for him and his family, it’s a historic moment for him in his life”, Howe said.

“Delighted for him, he’s such a level-headed down to earth lad, he’s worked incredibly hard since he’s came here and he’s improved greatly. I’m just really pleased he got the recognition his performances deserved.”

Howe added: He’s one of the last players off the training pitch, we have to tell him to go in, he’s one of those players who always want to do more, which is the type of player that I love.”

Team News

Howe told the media that there are a couple of injury doubts ahead of Saturday’s game. He said: “Ryan Fraser has been nursing a back problem, he had a scan and it looks okay but he hasn’t trained. Josh King’s neck looks like it’s going to be okay and there’s a couple of other niggles.”

Speaking of his highlight of the season, Howe said: “The period around Christmas when we managed to beat Arsenal and Chelsea, they were two big highlights to this point, but hopefully there’s more to come.”

Kick-off is at 3pm on Saturday at the Vitality Stadium.