Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe determined to secure Premier League status
Eddie Howe is determined to guarantee Bournemouth's status in the Premier League before turning his attention to "a very exciting end to the season".
The Cherries host Stoke on Saturday with 41 points already on the board and in 10th place following successive wins over struggling Middlesbrough and bottom club Sunderland.
Given Swansea are nine points behind in 18th and hold a far inferior goal difference, it is only a most highly improbable outcome which would see Bournemouth head back down to the Sky Bet Championship in the final three games.
Despite the odds being well stacked in his side's favour, Howe remains focused on delivering a guaranteed place among the elite once again for a club which not so long ago was facing financial oblivion.
"Looking towards the long term, the objective is always first to stay in the Premier League and we have not done that yet, so we need to focus on that first and then it is about finishing as high as you can and that is what we will be trying to do," said the Bournemouth boss.
"I just want to focus on the (Stoke) game and if we can win it then we will be mathematically safe and will be on for a very exciting end to the season."
Bournemouth finished the previous campaign in 16th on 42 points so Howe will be looking to better that - and bring in some extra funds in bonus payments.
"I don't need any reminding, but the money's not the motivating factor, the will to win is," he said.
"My motivation is always to win and to inspire my team to go out and win."
Stoke are in 12th, with 40 points, but have hit something of a rut with Mark Hughes' men not having managed a goal in their past six away games.
Howe, though, will not underestimate the Potters' challenge.
"Last season was a tough game here and they have got attacking threats in a good team," the Bournemouth manager said at a press conference as reported on the club's official website.
"Mark is very experienced, he knows the Premier League inside and out. Not scoring is one of those things that happen.
"Stoke can be very potent and we acknowledge the players that they have."
Bournemouth will be looking to add to their squad depth over the summer, and have been linked with moves for the likes of Sunderland frontman Jermain Defoe and Chelsea veteran goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
While not commenting on any transfer rumours, Howe expects to be able to do some business.
"Previously we have shown our ambitions, where we want to go and what we want to do, which is to really try to move the club forwards every season, trying to improve," the Bournemouth manager said.
"That has always been our mantra and what we work towards every day. If that means keeping a similar squad to what we had last year and trying to make the players better or recruiting from the outside, then that is what we will look to do."
Howe added: "We are not looking to sell anybody, we want to take the club and the team forwards. To do that, we have got to keep our best players."