AFC Bournemouth V Watford at Vitality Stadium : Match Preview

By
18 August 2017
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe still hopes to fill a gap in his squad

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admits he could still do with one extra body, but believes while his squad may be "short in numbers we are very high in quality".

The Cherries opened the new Premier League season with a disappointing 1-0 win at West Brom.

Bournemouth spent big during the summer transfer window.

Defender Nathan Ake, in a B#20million deal, and veteran goalkeeper Asmir Begovic were signed from Chelsea while England striker Jermain Defoe secured lucrative personal terms following his free transfer from Sunderland.

Howe has, though, also allowed winger Max Gradel to this week join French Ligue 1 side Toulouse on loan until the end of the season, while 22-year-old defender Baily Cargill has switched to League One outfit Fleetwood for the rest of the campaign.

With midfielder Junior Stanislas continuing his rehabilitation on a groin problem and forward Callum Wilson recovering from a serious knee injury, the Bournemouth manager accepts his squad is looking a bit threadbare.

Bournemouth have been linked with a B#20million swoop for Leicester's England Under-21 winger Demarai Gray ahead of the deadline.

Howe, though, is confident whatever side he is able to put out against Watford on Saturday will have enough talent to get the required result.

"Possibly it (new transfer) could happen in one position, but it's not a must," Howe said at a press conference

"While we are short in numbers, we are very high in quality and the pool of players we have is very strong - that's my issue if we were to get any injuries.

"Our plan was always to get our business done early. The fact that there's inactivity now, I don't buy into the theory that the fans are getting restless as we have brought in great quality already."

Defoe was carrying a groin injury into the West Brom game, where he came off the bench, but could make his home Premier League debut back at the club he enjoyed a successful loan spell with as a raw young talent.

Watford boss Marco Silva has a tough decision to make on who will lead the line for his side after being impressed by both skipper Troy Deeney and club-record signing Andre Gray.

The Hornets travel to the Vitality Stadium looking to build on an opening weekend draw at home to Liverpool.

Silva's first competitive game in charge ended in memorable fashion as defender Miguel Britos bundled in an injury-time equaliser against the Reds.

Now he takes his side to the south coast with captain Deeney in contention for a return having recovered from a pre-season groin operation.

Gray, too, is in line to make his full debut after the former Burnley man came off the bench against Liverpool - and Silva has been pleased by the application of both strikers in training this week.

Asked whether Deeney was training with the rest of his team-mates, Silva said: "He has started normal training with the team since Tuesday.

"He is starting to come fit, he had one week of pre-season until last week and it is important now we get him fit again so he can show me his football and show everyone what he can do to help the team.

"How desperate is he? It is normal, it is not a good situation for a player when you have an injury like him. It was a small surgery so now he is able to work 100 per cent with the team and it is our job to get him fit and into the team.

"He works hard, that is normal, he is trying to show his football to me and that is important.

"What I have seen from him in the last few days is what I expect, a player to work hard and do his best every day and this is what I expect not from him but from all the players."

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