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First Team

Francis - Everyone's excited to get started

Simon Francis slots home after rounding the 'keeper in the friendly with Napoli.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

With their pre-season schedule now completed, captain Simon Francis explains the plans to prepare for the new Premier League season.

The Cherries' third top-flight campaign gets under way on Saturday at West Brom, with the pre-season programme concluding in style with the 2-2 draw with Napoli.

Trailing at the break, goals for Benik Afobe and Francis himself gave the home side a lead that lasted until the closing minutes when Piotr Zielinski levelled the scores again.

Francis talked though his ice-cool effort against the Italians: "My instant reaction was that the foul was going to get given so I was quite relaxed really in going round the goalie.

"I didn't hear a whistle so thought I better put it in anyway. Luckily for me it counted, it's just a shame it wasn't the winner."

With attentions now turning to competitive football, Francis talked through the week ahead as the focus switches to the Hawthorns.

"Initially it will be rest and recovery, especially for the lads who played against Napoli," he said. "The players who played against Yeovil will be raring to go on Tuesday when we're back in.

"They've had two days hard training over the weekend while the squad who played against Napoli will rest on Monday and maybe do some light training on Tuesday.

"Then it's all about the West Brom game. The manager likes to work towards each and every game at the start of the week so we'll be watching West Brom, working on their weaknesses, looking at their strengths and where we can hurt them - building towards that vital first game in the Premier League."

With a 38-game campaign on the horizon, Francis says he and his team-mates are in a good position for the start of the campaign.

"I feel very comfortable, I think all the lads will say that," the skipper told afcbTV. "The new lads have settled excellently, I don't think it's been hard for them at all seeing as they know the club so well.

"Asmir (Begovic) and Jermain Defoe have been here before and Nathan (Ake) was here as recently as last season. Connor Mahoney, I think we've seen glimpses of what he can do and I think he's going to go on and be an excellent player for us. He's very young still and fearless in how he plays.

"It's exciting for us, everyone's got to be excited to get started: the fans, the club and everyone involved with the players - looking to build on last season."




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