AFC Bournemouth will hope they are not left counting the cost of a serious knee injury to star striker Callum Wilson when they host fellow Premier League new boys Watford on Saturday.
Wilson sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his right knee during last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Stoke City and will undergo an operation next week.
Early estimates point to an absence of around six months – a significant blow for the Cherries, who have benefited from the 23-year-old’s five goals in seven matches so far this term.
Both Bournemouth and Watford have made a steady start to life in the top flight, sitting 16th and 13th respectively – positions they would love to occupy once 38 matches have elapsed.
However, after back-to-back victories against Swansea City and Newcastle United, Watford’s momentum was interrupted by a 1-0 home defeat to Crystal Palace last time out, while Bournemouth come into the fixture on the back of that loss at Stoke.
Watford are hoping to return to winning ways by continuing a brilliant run of away form, having won eight and lost just one of their previous 12 league fixtures on the road, stretching back to their time in the Championship.
Bournemouth had the better of the two meetings between the sides in the second tier last season, picking up four points from a possible six, including a 2-0 win at the Vitality Stadium in January.
Watford coach Quique Sanchez Flores, though, has revealed he did not know a huge amount about Eddie Howe’s team before taking the reins at Vicarage Road ahead of the new season..
“I didn’t know Bournemouth, they were not one of the teams I knew before I came here to England,” he said. “I need to read, to take in media about Bournemouth.
“We respect Bournemouth because Bournemouth won the league last year, they were the best team in the Championship because they work as a team.
“They have started with seven points so we respect Bournemouth and if we are going to win on Saturday we have to give a good performance.”
Wilson’s injury saw him join Tyrone Mings and Max Gradel (both knee) on a growing list of long-term absentees at Bournemouth.
The striker’s lay-off means Watford’s Odion Ighalo will be the only free-scoring forward on the pitch on Saturday – the Nigerian has four goals to his name already this season.
Alessandro Diamanti is not yet fit enough to play from the start for the visitors, while Valon Behrami serves the final match of his suspension following his red card against Swansea.