EDDIE Howe insisted Cherries’ draw against Southampton had not ramped up the pressure ahead of the visit to Crystal Palace – because the heat was on permanently in the Premier League.

A solitary point from back-to-back home games – against Saints and Burnley – left Cherries 14th, four places above the Eagles, who currently occupy the final relegation berth.

Three wins and two draws from their past seven games have seen Cherries climb five points clear of the drop zone, repairing some of the damage following a poor start to the season.

And while victory at Selhurst Park would put further daylight between Cherries and Palace, defeat would drag them closer to the mire ahead of pre-Christmas clashes against three of the top four.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “When we talk about these fixtures, I don’t think you can put greater emphasis on any of them. Everyone knows how big each game is.

“Even if we had won against Southampton there would have been no change. We know Crystal Palace is the next game – so it is the biggest game.”

Howe will be forced to make at least one change to his starting line-up with Adam Smith ruled out due to suspension after collecting his fifth booking of the season against Southampton.