Bournemouth kick-off the campaign with a first round Carabao Cup tie against League One MK Dons this afternoon at Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries are looking to get off to a winning start in what will be Scott Parker’s first competitive match since taking charge of the Dorset club.
Bournemouth go into the game against Jason Tindall in the 3-2 defeat to Preston North End MK Dons with several absentees, most notably in defence where Llyod Kelly is the only senior player available for selection
Chris Mepham is suspended after being sent off in the playoff semi-final defeat against Brentford last season and Steve Cook remains a long term injury concern.
With options limited at the back, young Zeno Ibsen Rossi will deputise alongside Kelly. The 21-year-old has impressed during pre-season and played the full 90 minutes against Chelsea in midweek and if selected will look to stake a claim for a regular first team place with Cook and Mepham unavailable.
Another young player that takes advantage of Bournemouth’s injury problems is Gavin Kilkenny. The Irish international has started every game in pre-season and is liked by Parker and starts again today.
Lewis Cook is still recovering from an ACL injury and Ben Pearson is currently unwell, whilst Jefferson Lerma starts his six-match suspension for a biting charge he picked up last season – for which the player still denies any wrongdoing.
In attack, Arnaut Danjuma is still not fit enough to feature in the match day squad and speculation he may leave the club is still not going away. This leaves the left side of Parker’s front three a position up for grabs.
Jaidon Anthony and Kyle Taylor have so far deputised in pre-season with the former starting against the Dons this afternoon. Anthony is a promising young forward who made his Championship debut last season under Jason Tindall in the 3-2 defeat at Preston North End. After breaking into the Cherries first team last season the striker went on to make a total of seven appearances for the club.
New signing Emiliano Marcondes will have an opportunity to make his competitive debut at Vitality Stadium but Leif Davis will have to wait as the left-back – joined from Leeds earlier this week is not fit enough to feature.
Bournemouth’s opposition come into the game with a cloud over their heads. Manager Russel Martin looks like he may be leaving the club after it was confirmed on Saturday lunchtime that Swansea had made an official approach for the former Norwich captain.
The Dons will be disappointed that the approach comes just 24 hours before their first competitive match of the season.
There has been a turn around of players at Stadium MK. Cameron Jerome and Scott Fraser, the clubs leading goal scorers from last season have both left the club for pastures new but the club have brought in Mo Eisa from Peterborough and Scott Twine from Swindon to replenish their ranks.
Eisa played 27 times last year as The Posh won promotion to the Championship, scoring twice, while Twine, who is an attacking midfielder, impressed for Swindon scoring seven times and getting three assists in 25 appearances, but was unable to keep Swindon up as they were relegated to League Two.
A player who may be familiar to Bournemouth fans is that of Dean Lewington. The Dons captain and all-time appearance record holder was playing for MK Dons back when Bournemouth were in League Two.
The ever present left-back has made 824 appearances for MK Dons and won their player of the season last yearbut starts on the bench this afternoon.
The season opener for both these clubs should provide for entertaining game. Both clubs will look to continue their preparations for the league openers next weekend but with a spot in the next round of the cup there is plenty to play for.