by Jonathan Nagioff (@JonathanNagioff)
AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has called for ruthlessness from his side, ahead of their crunch trip to the bet 365 stadium to face Stoke City on Saturday.
The Cherries remain in the relegation zone after a narrow 1-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur last week and find themselves in an almost ‘six-pointer’ match already, with their opponents just above the drop zone in 17th place.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes will be searching for a response from his side after their 7-2 drubbing at Manchester City last time out, but Howe insists that his team will not be using that result as a blue print for success and has described the match as a “one off”.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the game, Howe told the media: “Games like the Manchester City game I think you have to take it out of context.
“From our perspective it was one strange game in terms of the score line.
“Reflecting on their previous matches and looking back this season, they’re a tough team to play against and we don’t underestimate them in any way.”
Bournemouth have only secured one Premier League win from their opening eight matches and remain in 19th place with four points, whilst the Potters have registered eight points from as many matches.
Howe emphasised the significance of the contest, after their recent struggles in front of goal.
“We know that we have to start picking up points and we have to start winning games to have a successful season and we’ve got to do that quite quickly.
“If you look at those two away performances, Everton and Tottenham, two tough games I thought we performed well in both.
“It’s just a case of putting those performances together again and then being a bit more ruthless in front of goal, and a little bit more resilient at the back, and then I think we’ll get there.”
The Cherries boss has a few injury concerns, with Tyrone Mings remaining on the sidelines with a back injury and Ryan Fraser subject to a late fitness test.
However, on a more positive note, Howe confirmed that defender Brad Smith will not require surgery on the hip injury he picked up whilst on international duty for Australia, but will not feature for a sustained period of time.
AFC Bournemouth kick off against Stoke City at 3pm on Saturday.