Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale has described his memorable loan spell with AFC Wimbledon as “the best thing that could have happened to me”.
Ramsdale will be hoping to play some part when the Cherries kick-off their pre-season friendly campaign against the Dons in southern Spain tomorrow.
Eddie Howe’s team will lock horns with the League One outfit at La Manga Club Football Centre – with the clash being live streamed to subscribers of afcbTV (7pm local time, 8pm UK time).
Ramsdale played a starring role in AFC Wimbledon’s remarkable escape from relegation last season, the Dons cast adrift at the foot of the table when he joined in January.
He kept six clean sheets in the final 12 games as they stayed up against the odds and won a host of awards for his exploits. He also featured as they pulled off an FA Cup giant-killing by knocking out Premier League West Ham in the fourth round.
Ramsdale, who joined the Cherries from Sheffield United in January 2017, will be vying for game-time along with Artur Boruc and Asmir Begovic in the Cherries’ first friendly, with Mark Travers currently recovering from a thumb injury but expected to return to full training soon.
Previewing the match for afcb.co.uk, Ramsdale said: “When I saw we were playing AFC Wimbledon, my overriding thought was that hopefully I will get a chance to play against them.
“It will be great to see some friendly faces and reminisce about what happened last season. It was obvious to all the fans at Wimbledon and the coaches and lads here how much I enjoyed my time there because I hardly shut up about it!
“At that stage of my career, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I knew the position they were in when I went there and knew it was going to be a big challenge.
"A new manager (Wally Downes) had just come in and although they had picked up some good results, they were still bottom of the table.
“In my first game, we got through to the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since the club had been re-formed so that was a big achievement for the team. We drew at Coventry the following week and then had a sticky spell.
“But from then on, we only lost two of our last 15 league games. The West Ham win in front of the BT Sport cameras was a perfect night for everyone involved.
“Wally Downes is a good motivator and gets the best out of his players. He puts a lot of belief in young players and the average age of our back six was about 21.
“We were a bunch of young lads and most of us have ended up being mates. We did a lot of stuff together and, being in the position we were in, we had to stick together. We all fought together and got out of it.”
Ramsdale has been put through his paces by goalkeeper coach Neil Moss during the club’s training camp in Spain and is hoping to follow teammate Travers by winning his spurs in the Premier League, the Irishman having started the Cherries' final two games of last season.
He added: “I want to do well in pre-season. I feel I have shown I can do it in games at League One level and now I need to prove I can do it in games with Bournemouth.
“We are getting lots of time in front of the manager and are working hard together.
"We will have to wait and see who gets some minutes in the first game. If you don’t, you have to keep working hard and try to get some against Girona in Barcelona on Saturday.”
The live stream of the AFC Wimbledon game will begin approximately five minutes ahead of kick-off and will be available at the below link.
Note, the live stream is not available in USA and Canada.