Eddie Howe believes his AFC Bournemouth side can beat the very best in the Premier League this season.
Bournemouth suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat to Norwich on September 12 but have followed that setback with a convincing 2-0 win against Sunderland and a penalty-shootout triumph over Preston North End in the League Cup.
The south-coast club head to the Britannia Stadium on Saturday to face a Stoke City side without a league win all season, but Howe has urged his players to focus solely on their own performance and not the form of their opponents.
“They are the kind of side that you will see in a few weeks and they will be in a very different position,” he said of Stoke.
“But we don’t need to worry about that. We know that if we are at our best levels we can beat anyone in this league – so it’s down to us.”
Howe confirmed that captain Tommy Elphick will miss the game against Stoke with an Achilles problem, as will long-term absentee Harry Arter.
“Both Tommy and Harry are still out,” he said.
“Tommy has flown to Sweden to get an update on his injury and Harry is still continuing his rehab. He’s had a little niggle this week – not on his original injury – so it’s just a case of letting that settle down.”
Bournemouth are four points ahead of Stoke in the Premier League table after six matches.