It may only be the middle of November, but the Cherries fixture against Stevenage could be seen as the first six pointer of the season.
Stevenage sit fifth in the League One table, 5 points clear of the Cherries in eleventh place.
The visitors have lost a bit of form in recent weeks, losing four of their last five games in all competitions.
If Eddie Howe’s side can extend their recent unbeaten run of eight games, including seven victories in all competitions then the gap to the play-off places will decrease even further.
Howe told afcb.co.uk…
“Stevenage have done well in recent seasons to get from non-league to npower League 1 and under Gary Smith, have continued their progression. This is a massive game for us and we started preparing for this on Saturday. They are above us in the table, and it gives us the chance to claw back the points difference. There is no doubt that we have confidence in the camp now as we look to continue the run we are on. We are well aware of the danger that they will cause us though, and we will have to be at our best.”
AFC Bournemouth Team News:
AFC Bournemouth full back Simon Francis made a surprise return against Oldham following a hip injury and is expected to play against Stevenage.
Stephane Zubar, Joe Partington, Lorenzo Davids and Mark Molesley all reportedly set to feature for AFC Bournmemouth’s development squad at Peterborough on Tuesday afternoon so are not expected to be involved.
Dutch striker Frank Demouge and midfielder Richard Hughes are also expected to miss out alongside long term absentees Darryl Flahavan, Stephen Purches and Charlie Sheringham remain sidelined.
Player to watch: Lewis Grabban
After scoring the first hat-trick of his career against Oldham on Saturday all eyes will be on Grabban who is now the Cherries top goal scorer with six goals.
Stevenage Team News:
Stevenage will be without Portuguese midfielder Filipe Morais as he is set to miss the game through suspension.
Winger Robbie Rogers and striker Don Cowan could be in contention for a place after both recovered from their respected hamstring injuries.
Player to watch: Lucas Akins
In the absence of Filipe Morais who has scored four goals in his last six appearances, Stevenage will hope Lucas Akins can add to his goal tally of six for the season.
Match Facts & Stats
Head to Head
Bournemouth wins – 0
Stevenage wins – 1
Draws – 1
Last time out
Last season was the first time the Cherries had faced Stevenage.
The first meeting between the two sides was at Dean Court in August 2011 and Lee Bradbury’s side lost 3-1.
The away fixture was Paul Groves first game in charge of the Cherries and the game ended 2-2.
Tonight’s fixture will mean Stevenage have faced the Cherries three times, with three different managers in 15 months.
24th November 2012, Bury V AFC Bournemouth, 3pm.