Eddie Howe believes AFC Bournemouth’s trip to Norwich City will serve as a good indicator of where they stand in the Premier League after seeing a host of players suffer injuries before the international break.
Four points from four games represents a decent start to a first top-flight season for Howe’s men, but the 1-1 draw with Leicester City last time out came at a cost as club-record signing Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel and Charlie Daniels all suffered serious knee injuries.
But Howe says his team have now moved on from that difficult afternoon and are focused on the test their fellow Premier League new boys will provide.
“The break was good because it allowed the injuries to sink in, but now we want to press on and support those players,” Howe said.
“It’s down to us now to move on in a positive way and support those lads until they get back.
“They’ve [Norwich] made a decent start [to the season]. It’s always tough when you come up to a new league, to know how you’re going to update to the challenges that you’re faced with.
“But I think they proved, going to Sunderland and winning, and getting a good draw against Stoke, that they’re going to be competitive this year, I’ve got no doubt about that.
“They’ve got a good squad of players and they’re very well managed, that’s obvious, so we’re expecting a tough challenge.
“The game will be a good marker for us to see how much we have improved over the summer.”
AFC Bournemouth have received an injury boost with the news that midfielder Harry Arter is back in training following a groin problem. The game at Carrow Road will come too soon for the Scotland international, though, while Josh King is still a doubt with a hamstring injury.
Norwich, who also have four points from as many matches, are without the banned Steven Whittaker and the injured Youssouf Mulumbu (foot), but have been boosted by the season-long loan signing of Matt Jarvis, who is expecting most of their games to be tight affairs.
He said: “I want to show everyone what I can do and help Norwich stay in the division.
“You can see from even only the early part of the season, it’s going to be another one where anyone can beat anyone and you need to try to be consistent, trying to keep the game to 0-0 and 1-1 as long as you can, and then you can try to nick one at the end.
“You’ve just got to try to be consistent, and ultimately that’s the hardest part.”
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