by Ross Millen (@RossMillen)
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe still insists his side are not safe from relegation, despite the Cherries sitting nine points above the drop zone with three games to go.
Tomorrow they travel to relegation-threatened Southampton for a massive south-coast derby.
Speaking ahead of the game, Howe said: “We’re still in the balance, we’ve still got to get over the line and we have a massive game ahead of us.
“It’s an opportunity to get the three points that would put us safe and that’s a huge motivation for us.
“We’ve trained very well in preparation for this game, I’m really pushing the players to perform well.”
But despite his side being nine points clear of the bottom three, Howe still believes the Cherries aren’t safe yet.
“Until it’s done, it’s not done. You can have the cushion of the points, but it can be a dangerous thing psychologically, it’s what I’ve been saying for a number of weeks.
“We know things in football can change so quickly from one week to the next, we can get the job done in this game and that’s what we’re going to have to try to do.”
The Cherries have never beaten Saints in any league or cup game throughout the history of both clubs.
“It’s another motivation for us and something we’d love to do.” Howe explained. “We came very close last year late on where we had a couple of chances to win it, but didn’t.
“Historically Southampton have always been a much bigger club than us and I think their resources that they have had over the years meant they’ve been too strong for us on a few occasions.
“Southampton as a football club have been run very well, they have a very talented squad, very experienced manager and they have our full respect.”
Regarding Charlie Austin leading the line for Southampton, the Cherries boss said:
“He’s a talented player, no doubt about that, having managed him I know he has the mentality and desire to score goals.
“He’s certainly someone we’re going to have to be well prepared for and someone we’ll have to try and defend well against.”
Howe also revealed the Bournemouth team news ahead of the match: “Pretty much as we were, Harry Arter has an achilles problem, but apart from that we’re okay.”
The match kicks off at 3pm at the St Mary’s Stadium tomorrow, where Bournemouth will be hoping to mathematically secure their Premier League status for next season.