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Fan Focus: Vital Bournemouth on Tomorrow's Match, Club Identity, Eddie Howe & Turning Average Players Into Good Ones

For an opposition perspective on this weekends game, we chatted to DJ from Vital Bournemouth. DJ and Rory discuss Jack Wilshere, the identity of Bournemouth and what would represent progress for the club, as well as previewing the game.

Eddie Howe has made Bournemouth synonymous with an attractive yet effective style of football, which most fans must be very pleased with. How would you describe the identity of the club, both on and off the pitch?

On the pitch we probably feel every bit the Premier League club. We have an excellent manager with a true identity of style and many players who represent that philosophy on the pitch. Many have also shared the story of the climb through the leagues with the foundations of the current eleven the same players that joined the club in League One, and have developed from there.

Off the pitch the infrastructure remains in League One, with issues with the ground threatening to hold the club back. There appears to be no long term vision in regards to expanding Dean Court and remaining in Kings Park as most fans would prefer. The club claim this is down to a dispute with the grounds landlords, a legacy of the old dark days as we still do not own our ground. This could mean a move away to a new ground built elsewhere, but there appears to be a lack of options in regards to available land within Bournemouth.

One thing me and a few other Sunderland supporters often point out is, if we had the likes of Arter and Gosling in the middle of our midfield we'd be doing terribly rather than whopping Hull 6-1 and drawing 0-0 with Spurs. I don't mean that as a dig at those players either, but is it a testament to how well organised Eddie Howe has got you that he has those players doing so well?

It's probably a combination of a few things. Just like I'm not very familiar with your side, you are understandably probably not as familiar with our midfield either. Harry Arter joined AFC Bournemouth from Conference South side Woking for £4,000 shortly after our promotion from League Two. He's celebrated two promotions and broken through to the Republic Of Ireland squad. He could probably have chosen England and would fully deserve to be in that squad. His recent performance against Everton was one of the most impressive individual performances I've ever seen from anyone.

Eddie Howe takes a lot of credit for developing Harry Arter into the player he is today, but he's also there on merit due to his own passion and devotion.

Also in your midfield, of course, is loanee Jack Wilshere. How well received has he been since his arrival and do you think this move could be the one he needs to prove some doubters wrong?

We're yet to see the best of Jack Wilshere as he's continuing to build his fitness, but he has now completed two 90 minute games. He adds balance to our midfield particularly alongside Harry Arter and Andrew Surman and all three can stick to their own individual roles allowing each other to shine.

I think anyone who knows how Eddie Howe coaches and manages understands why Wilshere opted to work with him over Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew.

Playing regular football in a team that plays passing football will over the course of the season enable him to impress more and win back his place in the England squad.

You stayed up rather comfortably last season so what would you see as progress for this season? Would a similar points tally be acceptable, provided you weren't really in the dogfight, as it would allow the club to keep building steadily, or do you think mid-table should be the absolute minimum?

Avoiding relegation remains the only priority. Obviously building on last season, improving the home form, finishing on a high points total and a higher position would be nice, but the reality of the Premier League dictates that avoiding the drop is the only thing that matters.

Under Eddie Howe the players will undoubtedly continue to improve on a personal level, especially the younger new signings so the future should remain positive.

Onto the match, who should Sunderland fans be most worried about from the Bournemouth side as we go into this game?

Callum Wilson will cause problems for the Sunderland centre backs with his pace and strength.

And which Sunderland player do you think could do you the most damage?

Dean Court favourite Jermain Defoe. He doesn't need much of an introduction to the AFC Bournemouth supporters and will receive, as he always has, a warm reception.

What do you think your starting line up will be and how do you think Howe will approach the game?

Howe will approach the game like he does every game, to win. We will press and aim to play with a quick tempo. He is most likely to go with a 4-3-3, Boruc in goal the back four of Adam Smith, Simon Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels.

Andrew Surman looks a doubt so he will either be replaced by Dan Gosling or Nathan Ake. In front of him will be Harry Arter and Jack Wilshere.

On the wings, Junior Stanislas is also likely to miss out, so Joshua King will probably continue on one side with Jordon Ibe playing down the left, however Maxi Gradel or Ryan Fraser could step in.

Up front will be Callum Wilson.

Give us a prediction!

I feel uncomfortably optimistic ahead of this game. I felt the same way against Hull City.... but I also felt the same way against Middlesbrough!

Our home form so far this season has been very good though so I hope to see a comfortable Cherries win.


Thanks to DJ for taking the time to answer our questions. You can follow Vital Bournemouth on Twitter, and take time to check them out on their website.