AFC Bournemouth vs Stoke City Preview: Secure Cherries looking forward to visit from Potters
Former loanee Nathan Ake got the winner in a 1-0 victory at the bet365 stadium(Source:Gareth Copley)

AFC Bournemouth vs Stoke City Preview: Secure Cherries looking forward to visit from Potters

Eddie Howe's side have secured their Premier League status for next season and are now looking forward to a visit from Mark Hughes' struggling Stoke City side

Ninad Barbadikar

AFC Bournemouth and Stoke City meet at the Vitality stadium as the Cherries look to get the double over their out-of-form visitors.

Eddie Howe's side secured their Premier League status for next season with a 1-0 victory against Sunderland last week and now they can relax and play against Mark Hughes' Potters without any pressure.

Stoke come into the game on the back of a 0-0 draw against West Ham United at home. The game marked the return from injury of England international Jack Butland. They will be hoping to put behind a run of poor results against the Cherries, away from home. However, the Potters' record away from home has been poor, to say the least.

Three points in this one would lift Howe's side would take Bournemouth's point tally to 44, level with West Bromwich Albion, temporarily at the very least. For Stoke, a victory in this game would be a late moral boost to their inconsistent season.

Bournemouth targeting highest finish possible

Bournemouth are well-placed to record their highest finish in the Premier League if the Cherries can beat their visitors on Saturday.

Howe's men come into this game with some very good momentum on the back of two consecutive victories. The victories against Middlesbrough and Sunderland mean that the Cherries will be confident against a Stoke side that has struggled on its away trips this season.

Joshua King has been in terrific form for Bournemouth this season. The Norwegian has a career-high 15 goals in the Premier League and scored the only goal in last week's victory over Sunderland. In the absence of Benik Afobe, King will be expected to be among the goals once again, leading the line against a Stoke defence who have kept only two clean sheets in their past six outings.

Last season, the Potters did the double over the Cherries with two very professional performances. However, this season, Bournemouth won away at Stoke, thanks to a solitary goal from Nathan Akè .

Hughes under pressure to turn things around

Mark Hughes' team will travel to the Vitality in the hope that they can use the return of Butland as a springboard to achieving victories, in the remaining games of the season.

Stoke's recent form has been against teams in and around the mid-table positions. Their inconsistency in defence has led them to the 12th position in the league table, where they languish at the moment, just one point behind their opponents on Saturday.

Stoke will be counting on their magicians in midfield to provide the team with the spark they need against Bournemouth. Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic have been two of Stoke's best players this season and starred in their last win against Hull City.

Statistically speaking, the Potters have a very good record against the Cherries. Both sides have met only thrice since the start of last season. Stoke did the double over them last season and will be hoping to avoid a double done on them by Bournemouth, this season.

Team News

Howe is missing four first-team players ahead of this one, as Afobe, Andrew Surman, Jack Wilshere and Dan Gosling remain sidelined with injuries for the rest of the season.

For Hughes, two very concerning injuries up front. Jonathan Walters and Saido Berahino are major doubts for this game and Hughes is likely to go with the experience of Peter Crouch up top, in his attack.