Lemina poised to boost Saints

Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina is expected to finally return to action after injury in at least one of the Saints next three games within a week.

The 25-year-old Gabon international has not featured since the turn of the year, undergoing surgery on an abdominal problem late on in January.

However, Saints head coach Ralph Hasenhuttl expects to have the former Juventus man back in the fold for the Premier League trips to Newcastle United and Watford, on Saturday and Tuesday respectively, before Southampton end the week with a visit from Bournemouth.

The Austrian told his club's official website: "Mario made a big step forward in the week. He's trained with the team and looks much better now – that's good for him and good for us.

"We know we have an intense week with three games, so it will be nice if we have one more option in this position.

"I have spoken about it and I am sure he will play (at least) one more game this season. The chances are big because now he is training with the team, so maybe his injury has come to an end."

Saints go into the busy Easter programme of games on the back of a run of form which has seen them win four of their last six Premier League games, a return which has lifted them five points clear of the relegation places.

They can be backed at 11/5 to gain a draw at Newcastle on Saturday, with a 1-1 final scoreline priced at 11/2, while the Magpies are 13/2 to edge a 1-0 victory on home turf.

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Hughton: Albion have to respond

Brighton boss Chris Hughton says his side simply have to react quickly and strongly to a 5-0 home thrashing at the hands of South Coast rivals Bournemouth.

The Seagulls have now lost four games in a row in all competitions without scoring a goal and face a massive clash with Cardiff City at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday evening.

The Bluebirds are currently in third relegation spot, with Albion just a place and five points better off than Neil Warnock's men.

And Hughton is only too well aware of just how important the game on Tuesday is in the overall battle to beat the drop.

He told reporters: "They know how poor a performance it was. The team have no choice, on Tuesday night people, especially me, will be looking for a reaction.

"There isn't one player in that dressing that hasn't been through an embarrassing or humiliating defeat and had to go again, it's the nature of the game.

"We have to go again, take this game – which was our worst defeat and overall performance – on the chin. We will have a motivated Cardiff team that will be here on Tuesday."

Brighton will definitely be without winger Anthony Knockaert for the foreseeable future, after he was red-carded for a late lunge on Adam Smith in the loss on Saturday.

Hughton added: "When things aren't going well, players have to deal with the frustration. He didn't deal with it. He was sent off and rightly so.

"We have had conversations at the end of the game. He is aware he's let the team down."

Brighton are 5/6 to defeat Cardiff on Tuesday, with the draw priced at 12/5, while a 1-0 home victory is available at 5/1.

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Howe enjoys Cherries position

Head coach Eddie Howe was pleased to see his Bournemouth outfit pass the 40-point mark by claiming a comprehensive 5-0 victory at out-of-form Brighton.

The Cherries had won only one of their previous nine Premier League games, but hit top form at the Amex Stadium as they ran riot against a Seagulls outfit who have now lost four games in a row in all competitions without scoring a goal.

And Howe was delighted with the performance, which banished any lingering fears of being dragged into the relegation battle.

He told reporters: "It has been a difficult run for us recently, so we knew the importance of this game, we were desperate to win.

"It has been a frustrating second half of the season. We started so well that we felt we could really go on and achieve special things and it hasn't really materialised.

"Our squad has been really stretched with injuries, we've missed some key players and that has halted our progress really.

"But we have come through it and got above the 40-point mark and it's a nice place to be, but the longer-term thing is finding consistency."

Next up for Bournemouth is a visit from already relegated Fulham next Saturday, with the meeting of the two sides at Craven Cottage earlier this season having finished 3-0 to the South Coast outfit.

The Cherries are 3/5 to claim all three points again and are 14/1 to secure another 3-0 victory, with Bournemouth now 7/1 to finish in the top half of the Premier League standings.

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Cherries form concerns Howe

Bournemouth head coach Eddie Howe accepts his side have to perform better, having won just one of their last nine Premier League games.

The Cherries are ten points clear of the relegation places and on course to secure a fifth straight season in the English top-flight, but Howe admits he has been concerned by the level of performance from his team in recent weeks.

He told reporters ahead of a Saturday trip to Brighton: "We have a quality team and I really do believe in the players.

"You go through these phases, but what is important when you do, is that you don’t lose your way of playing and what really defines you and that is what we are desperately searching for.

"We have been here before, we have to dig deep, show character and resilience and we know we will come through this period.

"We have been disappointed with what we have delivered in the last two games. How we played and performance-wise, I think we dipped below the standards we know we are capable of."

The Seagulls are also far from in top form, having lost their last three games in all competitions without scoring a goal and lying just five points clear of the drop zone.

The league meeting of the two sides at Dean Court earlier this season ended in a 2-0 Bournemouth victory, with David Brooks scoring both goals.

A 2-0 home win for Albion on Saturday is priced at 10/1, with the draw available at 12/5 and a 1-1 final scoreline a 11/2 shot.

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Cherries aiming to keep stars

Bournemouth chairman Jeff Mostyn has remained firm in his stance that the Cherries will try and keep hold of all of their star players over the summer.

Striker Callum Wilson continues to be linked with a number of other Premier League clubs, while Scotland winger Ryan Fraser is also a reported target for several top-flight outfits.

However, Mostyn says he and the Bournemouth board will try to fend off such interest and try to persuade the players that there is a bright future ahead on the South Coast.

He told reporters: "At the end of the day, contracts are what they are, people sign long-term contracts and will still leave. But as far as I am concerned, I follow Eddie Howe's mantra – we never talk about transfers.

"Ryan Fraser is a Bournemouth player, Callum Wilson is a Bournemouth player. We just don't want anybody to leave the football club.

"Your prized assets are prized assets for a reason and we want to continue the momentum that we have achieved – four consecutive seasons in the Premier League.

"We are going to start our next season, which will be our fifth year, and we want our very best players to be playing for our club."

Bournemouth are currently ten points above the Premier League drop zone, but are a run of just one win in their last nine games.

Next up is a trip to Brighton on Saturday, with the Cherries 9/4 to win the game and 11/5 to secure a draw, with a 1-1 final scoreline available at 11/2.

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Dyche targets Bluebirds result

Sean Dyche paid tribute to his Burnley side for turning their season around and feels they can complete the job by defeating Cardiff City next weekend.

The Clarets seemed to suffer a hangover having been involved in the Europa League qualifiers last summer and have been playing catch-up for most of this season.

They did so again on Saturday after an own-goal from Ashley Barnes put them behind early on in their trip to Bournemouth.

Chris Wood, Ashley Westwood and Barnes himself all scored as Burnley turned things around against a lacklustre Cherries outfit to win the game 3-1.

Burnley are now 14th on 36 points and well on their way to safety, seemingly. Dyche was pleased with their latest performance.

"So many parts of the performance were strong. I know Bournemouth have had a tricky spell in the league, but here they're strong," he said.

"There was no nervousness and we stayed clear-minded. We had some real moments of quality too."

Burnley host Cardiff at Turf Moor next Saturday and their manager feels they deserve massive credit for turning things around in fine style over the second half of the season.

Dyche knows that taking care of Cardiff on their own patch would more or less complete the job.

"24 points since Christmas is a very strong return. The win puts us in a much healthier situation than we were two games ago. We want to finish the season well and the next game is very important," he added.

Burnley are 19/20 to beat Cardiff. Neil Warnock's outfit are 3/1 while the draw is 23/10.

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Howe demands Cherries ‘fight’

Eddie Howe insists Bournemouth are 'still fighting' to stay in the Premier League following their 3-1 home loss against Burnley.

Howe has repeatedly stressed that the Cherries are not yet safe from Premier League relegation this season, despite their comfortable cushion over 18th-placed Cardiff City.

He has now warned his players they still have work to do to secure top-flight safety following a poor home performance.

Ashley Barnes sent a header into his own net under pressure from Nathan Ake to give Bournemouth a dream start on four minutes but goals from Chris Wood, Ashley Westwood and a restorative strike from Barnes gave Burnley the points.

"I don't know how many times I've got to say that we're not safe," said Howe.

"I don't consider myself safe and on my holidays – and the players are the same. Until someone says we're mathematically safe, that will be the case.

"You can't take liberties in this game."

The Cherries remain ten points clear of the bottom three despite the defeat, but their manager says this isn't the time to go on an early summer holiday.

"We are still fighting for points. This season is very much alive. We are running out of games now. We need to pick ourselves up," he added.

"We will have to look at everything – go back to basics and try and make things right."

Bournemouth go to Brighton next Saturday and are 21/10 to get the three points that would move them beyond the magical 40-point barrier. Brighton are 13/10 while the draw is 11/5.

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Howe aims to end poor run

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has revealed that defensive duo Charlie Daniels and Adam Smith could miss Saturday's match against Burnley.

Daniels sustained an ankle injury during last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Leicester City while Smith is struggling with a hamstring problem.

Howe said: "Adam Smith is improving. I don't know whether he will be fit enough to return, you have to be very careful with hamstring injuries."

Steve Cook, Simon Francis and Lewis Cook remain sidelined, with Howe adding: "Steve Cook is doing okay. He's still quite a long way from being available for selection but we hope to get him back before the end of the season.

"Lewis Cook and Simon Francis are still positive in their rehab and are making good strides. They have their different targets and we still feel Cookie is slightly ahead of Simon but they have had no setbacks and are doing well."

The Cherries have only won one and drawn two of their last eight games with Howe admitting it has been a disappointing spell.

He said: "It is a disappointing return. Like with any time when you're not quite at your best, I think there are a whole host of different reasons. For us, we're just looking at the next game and looking to get back to the level of performance we know we are capable of."

Bournemouth, who lost 4-0 at Turf Moor in September, are 11/10 to beat Sean Dyche's team on Saturday and 8/1 to win the match from behind.

Dyche confirms Crouch’s absence

Burnley boss Sean Dyche has revealed that he will be without Peter Crouch and Aaron Lennon for Saturday's Premier League clash at Bournemouth.

The 38-year-old Crouch, who moved to Turf Moor in January, missed last weekend's 2-0 victory against Wolves after having appendix surgery.

Dyche said: "We're pretty good, but big Crouchy unfortunately missed last week and will miss this week with an appendix.

"It's one of those. It's a strange one so we'll have to just wait and see. He's had it done and we await news from the specialist."

Lennon is making good progress after enduring knee surgery in January, with Dyche adding: "Once Aaron gets with us we'll have more of a guideline on the timescales, but he's active and seems in a good place. He's feeling good about the injury and about himself, which is great."

Meanwhile, Clarets midfielder Jack Cork remains focused on avoiding the drop and is keen to make the possibility of being relegated even more unlikely by picking up three points against the Cherries.

He admitted: "It's been a difficult year. We had a difficult start so to get control and hopefully bring us out of it would be great.

"It was a really enjoyable season last year but we've had pressure on us this time and it would be a big relief if we can stay in this league for next term.

"We were on similar points to Fulham and Huddersfield at the turn of the year and look where they are now. We've managed to pull ourselves out of it."

Burnley are 11/4 to win at Bournemouth while a 1-1 draw on the south coast is available at 6/1. The Clarets are 8/1 to be relegated this season.

Howe pleased with progress

Eddie Howe is unsure whether Dan Gosling, Junior Stanislas and Adam Smith will be fit enough to play in Bournemouth's clash against Leicester City on Saturday.

All three players were able to step up their recovery from injury over the international break, when the Cherries squad was in Dubai, but may still be short of full match-fitness.

Gosling and Stanislas have not played since February due to knee and hip injuries respectively, while Smith picked up a thigh problem during the victory at Huddersfield Town earlier this month.

Howe said: "We still have a few injury worries. We have used the two-week break to try and progress players back to fitness.

"Junior Stanislas has trained, Dan Gosling has trained and Adam Smith has trained. We will see whether they are involved but they have definitely improved."

Meanwhile, Steve Cook looks set to be sidelined for several more weeks although he is stepping up his recovery from the groin problem he sustained in early February.

"Steve Cook is slightly further behind," added Howe. "He is waiting for the all-clear from a specialist to start pushing his physical levels again. At the moment, he has not been doing too much."

Bournemouth are currently 12th in the Premier League table and are 15/8 to finish in the top half this season and 17/5 to beat Leicester this weekend.