Howe hopes for no shocks

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has intimated that he will strengthen his squad this summer but insists continuity is important.

The Cherries are being linked with summer swoops for Chelsea duo Asmir Begovic and Nathan Ake although Howe is keeping his cards close to his chest.

Former Stoke City goalkeeper Begovic has had limited opportunities to impress at Stamford Bridge because of the form of Thibaut Courtois while Ake enjoyed a successful loan spell on the south coast earlier this season.

Begovic was close to moving to Bournemouth in January and would cost the Cherries around £12million.

Chelsea recalled Dutch defender Ake in January but he has made only one Premier League start – on Monday in the 4-3 win against Watford – and one substitute appearance in the top-flight in the second half of the season.

Speaking ahead of Bournemouth's final Premier League game of the season on Sunday against Leicester City, Howe said: "Continuity's important. I think players need time to learn our philosophy but we want to keep the group together and add to it.

"It's difficult to predict any transfer window. Things can surprise you, but hopefully there will be no negative surprises.

"The first year in the Premier League was tough. This season has been harder, the players deserve a lot of credit.

"It's been a good season to this point but we want to finish the season strong. The players haven't switched off at all."

Bournemouth have won three of their last four games and will finish in the top half of the table if they beat the Foxes on Sunday.

The Cherries are 9/2 to keep a clean sheet at Leicester while they are 25/1 to beat the 2015/16 Premier League champions 2-0 and 13/2 to draw the match 1-1.

Howe expects King to stay put

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe is confident that star striker Josh King will still be a Cherries player come the start of next season.

King netted a late winner in a 2-1 home victory over Burnley which put the men from the South Coast on course for a finish in the top half of the Premier League, with just one match left to play.

The Norway international took his league tally this season to 16 goals, with 13 of those strikes having come since the turn of the year, including a hat-trick in a 3-2 win against West Ham in mid-March.

That form has raised speculation about a possible summer move, but Howe is not too concerned about that possibility.

He told reporters: "Josh King has been excellent. Every team needs a goalscorer and someone to lead the line, there is more to come from him too.

"Will we lose him in the summer? I don't think so. We love working with him, hopefully he feels the same. We need to keep our best players and we will do everything in our power to do that."

Meanwhile, King himself is eager to back up his fine campaign with another in the top-flight next season, adding: "I have been building my confidence. Once you start scoring, it builds.

"This is my first season where I have scored like this. Next year I need to prove myself and do it again, I can't wait for next season to start.

"Being noticed by other clubs is positive, but my focus is 100 per cent here."

The Cherries are 10/3 to win their final game of the season at Leicester City next Sunday, with a draw priced at 5/2 and a win for the hosts available at 5/6.

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No Cherries return for Wilshere

Eddie Howe has confirmed that Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere will not be returning to Bournemouth next season.

The 25-year-old England international had been on a season-long loan with the Cherries but suffered a fractured leg last month during the 4-0 defeat to Tottenham.

Wilshere made 29 Premier League appearances for Bournemouth after joining them on transfer deadline day almost nine months ago.

Howe said in the build-up to his side's home game against Burnley on Saturday: "It was really nice to have Jack here for a period. We wish him well for the future.

"We've started processes to identify players for next season. But in terms of names, positions etc, I won't be saying anything further."

Of Saturday's opponents, Howe added: "I think Burnley have been very good this season, they're determined and have a never-say-die attitude.

"I've been very impressed by Sean Dyche. He's done a superb job and I have a fondness for Burnley, I hope they do very well."

Bournemouth are 11th in the Premier League and are 2/1 to finish in the top half of the table while they are 9/1 to beat the Clarets 2-0 and 13/2 to draw 1-1 with Dyche's side.

Howe calls for a positive finish

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe wants to see his players retain their focus and aim to finish as high as possible in the Premier League this season.

The Cherries are all but certain of top-flight survival heading into their weekend game at home to Stoke City, with Howe's men currently in the top half of the table with just three games to play.

However, the cautious Howe says that survival has to be guaranteed first, before thoughts can turn to ensuring an improvement on their 16th placed finish last season.

He told reporters ahead of a Saturday afternoon visit from the Potters: "We're happy with our position as we stand, but there's three big games for the football club remaining.

"The most important objective is to stay in the Premier League – we have to do that first – then finish as high as possible.

"I just want to focus on this game, if we do win we'll be safe and look forward to an exciting end to the season."

Bournemouth, who have won their last two games, are 5/4 to make it three in a row on Saturday and are 12/1 to secure a 2-0 victory, while Joshua King – who has scored four goals in his last five games – is 8/5 to score at any time.

Meanwhile, as the end of the season draws near, Howe has admitted that he is keen to avoid losing any of his star players this summer.

He added: "Concerned and worried are not words I'm going to use, we're not looking to sell anybody.

"We want to take the club forward, the team forward, and to do that we've got to keep our best players."

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Howe targets 40 points for safety

Eddie Howe is keen to see his Bournemouth outfit reach the 40-point mark this weekend and all but ensure Premier League football for a third season.

The Cherries head to rock-bottom Sunderland on Saturday knowing that a victory would take them on to 41 points, a total which would make them all but safe from the threat of relegation.

However, head coach Howe is taking nothing for granted, despite the Black Cats being without a win in their last nine league games.

He told his club's official website: "We are not safe until it is mathematically done. We would love to get over 40 points this weekend, that is the one everyone talks about, then we can move on from there.

"It will be a difficult game, any away game in the Premier League is tough, so we will not be underestimating Sunderland.

"I have seen many amazing things in football, so our mentality has to be to go out against a tough side fighting for their lives. While there is hope for Sunderland, they will keep going.

"We have been slightly more inconsistent than we would have liked, but I see progression in the team and we're going the right way. I am proud of how the players have adapted to the Premier League."

Midfielder Dan Gosling will miss the game at the Stadium of Light due to a calf injury, while goalkeeper Artur Boruc is set to start a day after agreeing a one-year contract to keep him at the club next season.

The Cherries are 7/5 to win on Wearside on Saturday afternoon, with a 2-0 victory for the visitors priced at 12/1.

Striker Joshua King, who has found the net in three of his last four games, is 8/5 to score at any time.

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Howe hints at Gradel exit

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has admitted that Max Gradel may leave the club this summer as the winger wants regular first-team football.

The 29-year-old Ivorian has only made nine Premier League appearances this season, all of them as a substitute, and has only enjoyed 16 minutes of first-team football since he returned from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Howe bought Gradel from Saint-Etienne for £7million in the summer of 2015 but the player's first campaign with the Cherries was ruined when he tore his cruciate ligament on his third appearance for the club against Leicester City.

Howe said: "When you have a squad off 22 or 23 players, you can do the maths. You will have players who aren’t playing. They are paid to play, their job is to play, so it is difficult for them.

"Max has been brilliant, he really has. His attitude has not changed. He is still a very enthusiastic and popular member of the squad. He has a great attitude to his work and we will sit down in the summer and have a talk.

"He is competing with some very good players and our wingers have done very well. I have no problem with Max at all, we have a very good relationship."

Bournemouth visit rock-bottom Sunderland on Saturday and can be backed at 14/1 to beat the Black Cats 2-0 and at 9/1 to win from behind at the Stadium of Light.

Howe: Boro victory a big step

Eddie Howe is well aware that a win for Bournemouth at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday would move them even closer to Premier League survival.

The Cherries are currently seven points clear of the relegation places with five games to play, knowing that three points against a Boro side entrenched in the bottom three would represent a huge step towards survival.

And Howe is expecting an entertaining encounter on the south coast, having seen his side beaten 2-0 by the Teessiders at the Riverside earlier on in the campaign.

He told his club's official website: "I'm not going to say that one win will make us safe, but we're very motivated to win this game.

"It will be an interesting game, both teams are desperate to win and it should make it a really good spectacle, but hopefully one we can excel in.

"It's about us from our perspective, how well we attack the game and how our minds are focused on doing what we want to do. We know our jobs and know how important the game is."

Howe is hoping to have midfielder Dan Gosling available for the weekend action following a calf injury, but Andrew Surman misses out due to a knee injury.

Bournemouth can be backed at 17/20 to win the game, with a 2-1 home victory priced at 8/1, while Joshua King is available at 8/5 to score at any time – having found the net in two of his last three games.

Meanwhile, Howe has praised the efforts of loan midfielder Jack Wilshere, who has seen his season ended prematurely by a broken bone in his left leg.

He added: "I won't speak for Jack, but our thoughts are that he made a huge contribution on and off the pitch for us.

"We're very grateful to Arsenal for the loan. He's their player, so I won't be disrespectful and talk about the next step."

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Howe keen to keep run going

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe believes his in-form side are playing well enough to shock league leaders Chelsea on Saturday.

The Cherries are on a five-match unbeaten run while Chelsea lost at Stamford Bridge to Crystal Palace last weekend and were below their best in the midweek victory against Manchester City.

Bournemouth have drawn their last two matches – 0-0 in the derby at Southampton last Saturday before grabbing a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw at Liverpool.

"We're feeling good, we're full of confidence at the moment," said Howe. "Our home form's been very good, we've won our last two here and performed well away in the last two as well.

"If we can continue that momentum we have a chance against Chelsea.

"At the start of the season it was all about getting over 42 points, our total from last season, and that's still the aim."

Dan Gosling is 50/50 to be fit enough to face the Blues while Ryan Fraser is in line to return to the starting line-up after coming on for the last 29 minutes in at Anfield.

"It will be difficult for Dan Gosling to be involved so soon," Howe added.

"We'll have to wait and see and we'll give him every chance, I'd say he's 50/50 at this stage. Elsewhere [Andrew] Surman will be out, while Ryan Fraser's fit."

Bournemouth are 6/1 to beat Chelsea and 15/2 to draw 1-1 with Antonio Conte's team.

Howe laments double blow

Eddie Howe hopes that Jack Wilshere and Simon Francis did not pick up serious injuries during Bournemouth's 2-0 home loss to Manchester City on Monday.

Wilshere was replaced by Benik Afobe in first-half stoppage time after experiencing discomfort in his ankle while Cherries captain Simon Francis had to be substituted after suffering a hamstring problem.

On Wilshere, Howe said: "He is just feeling his ankle. I don't think there is any major injury there. It wasn't one moment in the game, he just felt he couldn't move as freely as he wanted to."

When asked about Francis' injury, the Bournemouth boss said: "I don't know, we will wait and see. He is feeling his hamstring again.

"He went to make a pass and felt a similar pain to how he felt the first time. Losing the two players was the key moment in the game for us – our captain and a player of Jack's quality."

City opened the scoring through Raheem Sterling before a Tyrone Mings own goal settled the match and the defeat leaves free-falling Bournemouth at 2000/1 to be relegated this season.

Howe's side are available at 11/4 to beat West Brom in their next Premier League match on 25th February while the Cherries are 11/4 to keep a clean sheet at The Hawthorns.

Howe: More to come from Cherries

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was thrilled with the way his team bounced backed from their weekend defeat by beating Leicester City.

The Cherries moved up to eighth in the Premier League table as a result of edging past last season's champions 1-0 on Tuesday – Marc Pugh scoring the only goal of the match in the first half.

The result followed Saturday's disappointing 3-2 loss at Burnley and Howe believes his team's character augurs well for the future.

Bournemouth's next match is Sunday's derby against Southampton which Howe's side are 14/1 to win 2-0 while they are 10/1 to win the encounter from behind.

"It was very much a good response from Saturday's result," Howe said. "I think the most pleasing thing is, this season, we have the ability to respond to setbacks very well, and that's a really good sign for the future.

"We've been in the Premier League a while, but it's a nice thing to say [that the Cherries are eighth.]

"The team this season is growing, getting better and there's a lot more to come. Other people may sit back and look at the table but I'm looking to achieve more, starting with Southampton next weekend."