AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says the club’s tough run-in to finish their debut Premier League campaign will be good preparation for their second attempt at survival next season.
Next to the considerable feats of Leicester City – who claimed the Premier League in just their second season back in the top-flight – Bournemouth have flown under the radar.
But their 11 wins from 36 games has them up in 15th in the table and safe from the drop – a commendable effort from a side tipped to be in the thick of the relegation battle.
But they could yet fall down the standings with matches against West Brom and away to Manchester United to end the season.
Howe in particular has drawn praise for his management of the team but he is more concerned with going again next season than receiving any individual praise.
“I believe this run of games could really serve us well going into next season because the harsh realities are there of just how tough this division is,” Howe told the Bournemouth Echo.
“It is a period for us where we are under no illusions that we will have to come back a lot better team than when we left. Next season, this league is going to be a lot tougher than it is now.
“A lot of the squad have had good game time this season and, in the main, most players have been given an opportunity.
“I might look at giving one or two other players an opportunity and might experiment slightly but with the best intentions because we want to try to get some points between now and the end of the season in what will be two really tough games for us.”