Having suffered four defeats in their last five games, tomorrow’s Huddersfield clash for Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth could prove vital to rejuvenate their season.
After a disappointing 5-1 loss to Arsenal away from home, Howe’s side responded well last week against defending champions Manchester City.
Despite still losing the game 0-1 and having no shots on target over the course of the 90 minutes, the Cherries showed significant improvement defensively.
And, in doing so, forced City to deliver one of their best ever performances, according to Pep Guardiola.
Looking ahead to the Huddersfield game this weekend, the Cherries boss believes it is a huge game for Bournemouth as they reach the business end of the season.
Looking ahead to Huddersfield
Howe believes there are positives his side can take from last weekend into tomorrow afternoon’s fixture.
He has also emphasised the importance of this game for his league campaign as Bournemouth are aiming to secure safety for next season.
On the Huddersfield game, he said: “We want that momentum [that they had earlier in the season] in our performances and want the confidence back in our team.
“We’re losing distance with teams above us and therefore we recognise that this is a big game for us.”
Having conceded 12 goals in their last five games, Bournemouth will need to perform to their best defensively in order to see off a Huddersfield side prone to scoring last-minute goals.
Addressing the recent performance of his defence, Howe told Nerve Sport: “I think we have to be confident.
“I think last week showed that we can defend and defend for long periods.
“Last week we didn’t have the ball for large periods of the game and bar the one occasion I thought that we were pretty good.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow, he added: “I think taking a little bit of that mindset into this game will be hugely important, but I trust my players.
“I think we’ve got good players in every position – they’ve just got to show that.”
Howe revealed that Callum Wilson could feature this weekend ahead of a late fitness test.
He said: “Wilson has done some light training this week, he’s been back on the grass for the first time and he’s looked pretty good.
“We’ve got to pick and choose when the right moment is for when he can come back.”
Meanwhile, Steve Cook remains on the sidelines for what is longer than expected.
Addressing the injury, Howe said: “Cook had an injection on that area [groin] to try and fix the problem, but that injection turned into an infection, so not good news regarding that.
“So, he will be out now for 5-6 weeks.”
Amid injury woes, Lys Mousset has had the opportunity to come in and make an impression on both the fans and the boss.
The 23-year-old has now faced three of the ‘big six’ in Bournemouth’s last five games, among the sides who lost at Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City.
Eddie Howe has been impressed with how he has handled being ‘thrown in at the deep end’, saying: “It’s been difficult for Lys. He’s been behind Wilson, King and other strikers that we’ve had.
“He’s had to be very patient. He’s had an impact from the bench and he’s made a lot of appearances for us now, but he’s never made that breakthrough into the starting 11 for a consistent run of games – that’s what he’s craving and what he wants.”
And Mousset isn’t the only Bournemouth youngster who has been making waves this week.
21-year-old David Brooks was this week awarded with a new contract, committing his long-term future to the club.
Howe was full of praise for the Welshman, saying: “When you sign a young player you hope they have the attributes to do well in your team but also the mentality to go with it and that is a crucial mix.
“David is showing that he’s got those two things in line together.”
He continued: “He’s never got too high with the success he’s had, and he’s kept his feet on the floor – that’s going to be crucial for him.
It’s a reward for all those performances [impressive ones at the start of the season].”
Having returned from injury against City last week, Brooks could be in line to start yet again this weekend.
His side will look to get back to winning ways when they travel to Huddersfield tomorrow.
With the season rapidly coming to its conclusion, this game could prove pivotal in restoring results for AFC Bournemouth and ensuring they stay up next season.
Written by Courtney Hill (@cjhsport)