Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has challenged his side to “put on a show” against West Ham and quickly recover from their midweek Carabao Cup exit at Burton.
Howe had selected a much-changed team at the Pirelli Stadium on Wednesday night, where Simon Francis, Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Danjuma all made a welcome return from injury.
However, it was the League One Brewers who battled through floodlight failures to win 2-0 and progress to the last 16.
Bournemouth resume Premier League action currently in sixth place following the 3-1 win at Southampton.
Howe knows the Hammers – a point ahead in fifth – will provide another stern test of just how far his first-choice squad can go this season.
“Our early season form with the Everton and Southampton wins, in my mind it is very positive as we approach West Ham and it is important we put on a good show on Saturday,” the Bournemouth manager said.
“Our early game against West Ham last season was very early in the manager’s reign there and he was still implementing his ideas.
“I think they have very good players and the have had a good start to the season, so it promises to be a good game.
“Their general performances have been very strong and it’s two teams who have been strong at the start of the season.
“We would like to win three (league games) in a row, the first time we have done that in a while, and that is a huge incentive for us.”
Howe defended his team selection against Burton.
“We are very disappointed to go out,” he said at a press conference. “In terms of the team I picked, I loved that team and the players within that team.
“It was full of quality players, for whatever reason on the night, that didn’t show.
“I can’t be wise after the event, I can only pick the team that I think is the right team before the game, and hope the result takes care of itself.
“You expect criticism if you don’t win, but in terms of the individuals in that team, they are good enough to win that match, but for whatever reason, it did not happen.”
Club captain Francis came through an hour against Burton following his return from a knee problem, while summer signing Kelly played the whole match of what his belated debut.
After seeing midfielder Lewis Cook also come back from his long-term injury lay-off, Howe feels the squad is starting to take shape again.
“Having our captain back is a huge lift for everyone and the two players we signed in the summer we have high hopes for,” Howe said. “It makes the squad stronger, without a doubt.
“It is great for the group and I am really excited by what lies ahead because if we can get a few more bodies back fit, we have got three or four quality players to come back in and make us even better.”
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