How many times have AFC Bournemouth beaten Stoke City? We can tell you it’s not many.
Will AFC Bournemouth win on Saturday? We will happily start with Callum Wilson not getting injured. Fan site Stoke Loud & Proud writer James Knowles reckons even with key players out they will still win. Read on to find out what else he had to say…
Q. After a slow start to the season Stoke are picking up points while AFC Bournemouth’s form has dipped, seeing them sat next to each other in the table. What do you think is a realistic finish for both teams?
Stoke are notoriously slow starters, but this season seemed to be different. We were getting hammered, but a change in tactics has seen us become more solid. Providing fitness allows us to play the same way I see no reason why we shouldn’t aim for another top half finish. We’ve finished ninth in the last three seasons and that seems a realistic target again. With it only being Bournemouth’s second campaign in the Premier League I think staying up is another realistic target. Your home form appears to be better than last season and that will be key. There are certainly three worse teams than you in the division.
Q. There is no doubt that history and the form guide are on Stoke City’s side. But, we all know it’s what happens on the day. What do you think the score is going to be?
Form and history doesn’t count for all that much, particularly after an international break. A couple of main players could be out for Stoke, but I still fancy us to win. We may lose some of Joe Allen’s forward energy as he could be deployed in a more defensive role, so the player who takes his place needs to be on his game. The lad who is likely to take that place is Bojan, who has scored in his last two appearances. 3-1 Stoke.
Q. Which AFC Bournemouth player would you like to see in the Stoke City squad. And, which Stoke City player do you think would fit into the AFC Bournemouth squad?
With the greatest respect, I feel many of Bournemouth’s squad are Championship players punching above their weight. Much like Stoke during our early time in the Premier League. I admire Charlie Daniels. I remember seeing him for Spurs reserves 10 years ago and he looked a decent player, but he ended up dropping down the leagues. His story is one of success and, arguably, he now deserves international recognition. I’d be very pleased if he ended up on Stoke’s books, although I almost feel he’s the perfect fit for Bournemouth and it might not work out at another club for him.
Q. We love our club, but how do Stoke City fans perceive AFC Bournemouth?
Friendly. You raised many eyebrows with your performances last season, with many people expecting you to be whipping boys. The reality was far different and you’ve earned the respect of everyone in the division. Deep down, I’m sure all Bournemouth fans expected you to go straight down (I know we thought we’d be immediately relegated!) so I’d guess you’re still riding a cloud of elation. There’s no reason why you can’t ‘do a Stoke’ and be here for the long term. I’d fully back you to do that, particularly if you keep hold of Eddie Howe.
Q. Eddie Howe and Mark Hughes are two long-serving managers. What do you think of Eddie Howe and how good a job do you think Hughes is doing at Stoke?
As briefly mentioned above, I think Howe is vital to Bournemouth’s success. He clearly loves it having returned after his affair at Burnley. I’m sure you’re all delighted that Gareth Southgate is likely to get the England job as Howe would seem a pretty ideal choice for the FA from an outsider’s point of view. As for Hughes, he’s grabbed hold of Pulis’ foundations and built on them. The time was right for the Club to push on and Hughes has been the perfect successor. Baring a disaster, I can see Hughes being around for quite a while.
Q. One of AFC Bournemouth’s most recent signings is ex-Potter Marc Wilson. Do you think is was a good move for him or should he have stayed?
At the time of the transfer it seemed like a great move for all parties. Reality has been different though and Wilson would have seen the same amount of action had he stayed at Stoke. His versatility is a key component, so I’m surprised he hasn’t featured in the Premier League yet. It sounds like a nightmare half against Preston hasn’t really helped his cause though. Whilst he often had an error in him, Wilson was a good servant for Stoke and he’ll receive a good round of applause from everyone if he features on Saturday.