Belfast Telegraph

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe backs Stoke to start moving up the table

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe insists Saturday's opponents Stoke will soon climb away from the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

The Potters thrashed Tottenham and Liverpool at the end of last season to finish ninth in the table but have failed to carry that momentum into the current campaign.

No wins in six league games so far see Mark Hughes' side languishing in the bottom three ahead of this weekend's clash but Howe has warned his players not to underestimate their opponents.

''When I have reviewed Stoke's games I have been very impressed,'' Howe said.

''They don't look like a team that haven't won yet. They are the kind of side that you will see in a few weeks and they will be in a very different position.

''But we don't need to worry about that. We know that if we are at our best levels we can beat anyone in this league, so it's down to us.

''The performance against Sunderland was good, but we will prepare for Stoke on an individual basis.

''We are not at the stage where we can start to group games together. We want points from every game.''

Bournemouth have enjoyed an encouraging start to life in the top flight.

Wins over West Ham and Sunderland, as well as a draw against Leicester, mean the Cherries sit 14th and they scraped past Preston on penalties in the Capital One Cup third round on Tuesday.

A second consecutive league victory against Stoke could see Howe's side climb into the top half but they will have to do it without captain Tommy Elphick and midfielder Harry Arter, who are both injured.

''Both Tommy and Harry are still out,'' Howe said.

''Tommy has flown to Sweden to get an update on his injury and Harry is still continuing his rehab.

''Harry has had a little niggle this week, not on his original injury, so it's just a case of letting that settle down. But that's only natural when you've been out for the length of time that he has.

''Tommy has gone to see a specialist he used when he was at Brighton. Hopefully after that it will be a case of building him back up quite quickly.''


From Belfast Telegraph