Eddie Howe targeting winnable run of games
Eddie Howe is hoping a kinder run of fixtures can help reinvigorate Bournemouth's season but it may be hampered by injuries.
The Cherries are winless in their last eight matches, last tasting success against Huddersfield on November 18, and have endured a testing run of matches.
Their last three Premier League matches against Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City have all ended in defeat, with nine goals conceded and none scored, with a Carabao Cup defeat at Chelsea thrown in for good measure.
West Ham's Boxing Day visit to the Vitality Stadium marks the start of a friendlier set of assignments, and Howe is hoping that marks an upturn in form.
"The games we've got to come are going to be vital for us," he said. "The run of fixtures we've had has been incredibly difficult but we're through that now and we've got to focus on the games coming up.
"It's been tough for us."
Howe's problems have been exacerbated by persistent fitness problems, with a spate of injuries blighting the squad at the busiest time of the season.
Junior Stanislas limped off at the Etihad Stadium with a hamstring niggle, joining Jermain Defoe (ankle), Harry Arter (calf), Charlie Daniels (groin), Joshua King (hamstring), Brad Smith (hip), Adam Federici and Tyrone Mings (both back) in the treatment room.
Whether any of the afflicted will be passed fit to take on the Hammers is being left to the last moment, but reinforcements are needed with three games between Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
"We've got big players missing and need them back," said Howe.
"The injuries we've had meant we couldn't rotate as much as we'd have wanted to but we need to get some players back soon because we need a full squad to choose from.
"Whether they'll be back for West Ham, I don't know."
On Stanislas, he added: "I don't think he pulled his hamstring, but he felt it. It was his decision to withdraw himself. He's another big player for us and we need to get him back."