Dan Rose follows Bournemouth up and down the country in his role as chief sports reporter at the Bournemouth Echo newspaper. We turned to him for our latest Preview from the Press Box ahead of our Premier League clash at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.
Dan: “Two wins from their past 12 league games since the end of the January indicates it has been a tough spell for Cherries. But you can partly attribute that to the lengthy list of injuries the side has suffered throughout the second half of the campaign. Simon Francis ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Spurs at Wembley in December. Lewis Cook also suffered a serious knee injury earlier that month and the likes of Charlie Daniels, Diego Rico and Junior Stanislas have all since been ruled out for the rest of the campaign. With an array of other injury issues rocking his squad, Eddie Howe has been unable to name a settled starting XI, which could be the reason behind a dip in form since such a promising start.”
Callum Wilson on target in Bournemouth’s 3-3 draw at Southampton last week
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Bournemouth’s key players
Dan: “You have to look at the key combination of Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser. The pair are second in the all-time Premier League list for goal combinations in a season, with 12 in total so far. They are just one short of equalling the record set by Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton for Blackburn in the 1994/95 campaign – of course, that was over 42 games. Wilson and Fraser combined once again for the former to strike at Southampton in a 3-3 draw last time out and will be looking for the same again at Vitality Stadium on Saturday.”
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Dan: “Eddie Howe always wants his teams to attack and – especially in Cherries’ final home fixture of the season – I expect this game to be no different. Mainly due to a lack of full-backs through injury at Southampton, he set up with three central defenders but quickly reverted to a back four. Whatever system Cherries go with, I would expect them to look to sign off at home for the campaign by having a real go and trying to seal a first top-flight win over Spurs.”