AFC Bournemouth travel to The Hawthorns on Saturday afternoon to face West Bromwich Albion in a crucial tie as Eddie Howe’s side continue to slide closer to the relegation zone.
The Cherries are still searching for their first Premier League victory in 2017 and have been training in Madrid over the past couple of weeks during their extended break as they prepare for a pivotal period of fixtures in their fight for survival.
Howe’s side enjoyed a 1-0 home win over the Baggies in the first half of the season thanks to a goal from Callum Wilson, but having suffered a recent ACL injury which has ruled him out for the season, the South Coast side have struggled to replace him up top.
Bournemouth can take confidence from the fact that they are unbeaten against Tony Pulis’ side in the league (W2 D1) and were victorious on their last trip to the Black Country 2-1 back in December 2015. West Brom’s last victory over the Cherries came in a League Cup fixture in 2011, where they came out as 4-1 winners away from home.
West Brom in fine form
Howe’s side are currently on their worst run of the season, having lost three Premier League games in a row. Their most recent defeat came at home to Manchester City 2-0, and snapping this losing streak against West Brom on Saturday will be tricky. Pulis’ side are flying, having only lost one of their last seven league games, not to mention their impressive home record of late, winning six of their last seven in the top flight.
Cherries skipper Simon Francis will miss the match after suffering a recurrence of his hamstring injury which forced him off in the first half against Manchester City. There are also concerns over Jack Wilshere as he will have to face a late fitness test to monitor an ankle problem.
For the Baggies, defender Jonny Evans could make his first start in almost two months after suffering a calf injury, other than that Pulis has no fresh injury concerns ahead of this fixture.
With West Brom sitting pretty in 8th and Bournemouth in 14th, just six points above the relegation zone, this fixture is a lot more important for the visitors to take the three points back to the South Coast. That being said, West Brom will have plenty of motivation, closing in on 7th place Everton, who are currently four points better off. It promises to be a hard fought and entertaining clash at The Hawthorns on Saturday.