by Dan Davis (@dan_davis20)
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has said he expects a rejuvenated Newcastle United side to travel to the Vitality Stadium tomorrow.
The Magpies strengthened their survival hopes after a 1-0 victory against Manchester United a fortnight ago, and sit two points above the drop zone.
Howe told the media at his pre-match conference that he expects Rafa Benitez’s side to travel to the south coast with renewed confidence.
“Their last result will give them a big lift,” he said.
“You saw from us, when we beat Chelsea, it gave everyone a spring in our step, a real confidence we can compete with anyone in the division.
“We are aware they are dangerous opposition, and we respect them a lot.”
Despite the boss being awarded with the Premier League’s Manager of the Month award for January, the Cherries fell to a heavy 4-1 defeat at Huddersfield last time out.
Howe stressed that he wanted his players to remember the “pain” of the result at the John Smith’s stadium ahead of their return to Premier League action.
“With a change of scene, I think naturally you are able to put that game to the back of your mind.
“But hopefully not too far away because I want the pain of that defeat and how it felt afterwards to inspire the players for the game coming up.”
The manager also gave an injury update, after his players returned from a warm weather training camp in Portugal.
Jermain Defoe was involved in first-team training for the first time since December, after the veteran striker had sustained a serious ankle injury in the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash with Chelsea.
“We’re in pretty good shape ahead of the game on Saturday,” Howe said.
“We’ve picked up a couple of knocks in the two week window since our last game.
“On Tyrone [Mings], he’s still out long-term and still won’t feature – he’s currently abroad working hard on a return.
“Jermain was our other long-term injury and it’s a big lift for everyone to get Jermain back.
“He’s trained and I’m pleased with what we’ve seen, he’s a natural goalscorer and we look forward to getting him back.”
Bournemouth will be looking for a return to winning ways after the defeat at Huddersfield. However, the Cherries have also recently come off the back of a seven match unbeaten streak – a record for the Dorset side in the English top flight.
But despite the upturn in fortunes at the start of the year, Howe explained he would be remaining firmly grounded.
“What we can’t do is fall into a trap of complacency.
“Although the league table looks good in terms of position, the gap of points between us and the teams beneath us is not big.
“We have a lot of work to do and I am under no illusions that we still have to deliver.”
Kick off at the Vitality Stadium is at 3:00pm.