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First team

Team news: Cherries buoyed by returning trio

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Ahead of the match with West Ham on Saturday, Eddie Howe says his squad is in a stronger position with Simon Francis, Lloyd Kelly and Arnaut Danjuma having played their first minutes of the season.

Francis played an hour away at Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday while Kelly played the full match and Danjuma was introduced from the bench in the final 30 minutes.

In his pre-match press conference Howe spoke on the boost to his squad: “Three huge players for us, great to have our captain Simon Francis back after a long time out. With the stoppages and the flood-light failures we felt we had to bring him off to make sure he wouldn’t stiffen up.

“Lloyd made his debut and played well and Arnaut Danjuma had a nice little cameo which was positive.

“Having our captain back is a huge lift for everyone and the two players we signed in the summer we have high hopes for. We still have two or three to come back to make us even better.

“For Saturday I think we’re pretty much as we were, we will see where we are in training today and go from there.”

Saturday’s Vitality Stadium match pits the sides currently sitting fifth and sixth in the Premier League table against one another, with Howe anticipating an exciting contest.

“Our early season form with the Everton and Southampton wins, in my mind it’s very positive as we approach West Ham and it’s important we put on a good show on Saturday,” Howe said.

“Our early game against West Ham last season was very early in the manager’s reign there and he was still implementing his ideas.

“I think they have very good players and they’ve had a good start to the season so it promises to be a good game.

“Their general performances have been very strong and it’s two teams who have been strong at the start of the season. We’d like to win three in a row, the first time we’ve done that in a while, and that’s a huge incentive for us."

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