Bournemouth boss previews Saturday’s encounterAhead of Saturday’s game with the Albion, AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe conducted his pre-match press conference. Here’s what he had to say.
“We’re looking fine with injuries, just the one or two problems that you normally associate with international players coming back, so we will make late assessments on those players.
“Jack Wilshere has settled in very well to the changing room and the dynamics of the group. He’s been very bright in training, his quality is obvious on the ball, but we’ll wait and see what my team selection is!
“We’ve had a tough start, difficult games, we would have loved to have held on for our first win against Crystal Palace, but it wasn’t to be. In this league, you fancy top teams every week and I think this season will be tougher for us, but I think we are better prepared, we have a stronger squad, and we are just looking for one result to kick start our season.
“I’ve had a long association with Tony Pulis,, we’ve known each other a long time and I have nothing but huge respect for him. He took me for a few sessions when I was 14, 15 years old, so he certainly had an impact on my career, without a doubt.
“At that stage he played a big part in improving my fitness because his sessions had that element in them and I was surprised at the demands being placed upon me at that age. That might not sound a massive part of my career, but fitness is everything, if you’re not fit, you can’t play, so I have huge respect for him.
“As manager of Bournemouth, he was so involved in all aspects of the football club. He was at the centre of excellence, at reserve team games, youth team games, taking the first team, he was everywhere. You could feel his presence around the club. I don’t think that passion has gone, I don’t think that energy has gone.
“He’s just a really good football man, you can tell he lives and breathes football most of his life, it’s his biggest passion and you can see that when you speak to him. I owe him a great deal, a lot of my early development was down to him.
“He’s closing in on 1,000 games and in modern football, at the level he’s managing at, that is a huge achievement. I think he’s done some brilliant work at his football clubs and probably hasn’t always got the credit he deserves for that work. One thing I do know is that his teams are incredibly hard to beat, so we have got a challenge on our hands going into this game.
“It was a totally different game here last season, both teams were safe, the season was almost over, it had a very different feel about it. The mistake we made was that they scored first and that’s a difficult position to be in against West Brom, if you give them a leg up then they are a very good side at seeing out games. Thankfully we came back and got a point and so we need to learn from that on Saturday”.