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AFC Bournemouth: Boss Eddie Howe predicting 'big test' against Blackburn Rovers
Eighth-placed Cherries are four points ahead of Rovers after making a promising start to life in the second tier following promotion from League One.
Blackburn head to Dean Court on Saturday (3pm) without a win on the road this season and having registered nine points from their opening eight matches.
But Howe says he expects the former English champions to provide a threat to Cherries’ impressive home record of three league wins in four games.
He told the Daily Echo: “I still think they are a big club. They are one of the few clubs to win the Premier League which is a fantastic achievement. The climate has changed slightly and they have had a turbulent couple of years, but they will be looking to make a strong challenge this season.
“It is too early to read too much into league positions at this stage. All we have to try to do is maintain our home form and how well we have done here. It will be a big test because they are a good side.”
Howe rejoined Cherries following a stint managing Burnley, Blackburn’s fierce local rivals. Asked whether he expected to get some stick from Rovers’ travelling support, Howe replied: “Possibly, but that doesn’t faze me.”
Howe confirmed that winger Ryan Fraser had “improved” following a hamstring complaint in the warm-up at Middlesbrough, with Cherries set to make a late decision on the Scotsman, as well as Andrew Surman and Mohamed Coulibaly. Key men Harry Arter and Charlie Daniels have been sidelined in recent weeks, while Joe Partington, Matt Ritchie and Wes Fogden are Cherries’ long-term absentees.
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