Whilst it is still far too early in the season to be discussing relegation six-pointers, these are the sort of home matches that Bournemouth will have earmarked as ‘must-win’ when the fixtures were released – and Sunderland’s poor start will have done little to change that.
The Cherries suffered a disappointing 3-1 defeat at Norwich last weekend which has left them precariously above the relegation zone, and they are looking for their first Premier League win at the Vitality Stadium after a defeat against Aston Villa and a draw with Leicester in their first two home matches.
Charlie Daniels could return at left-back for the hosts, for whom Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings are long-term absentees. Harry Arter still lacks match fitness after a lengthy lay-off with a groin injury.
Sunderland are being kept off the bottom by their north-east neighbours Newcastle, and make the long journey south on Saturday still searching for their first league win of the season.
Dick Advocaat’s side slipped to a late 1-0 defeat at home to Tottenham last time out, but have been boosted by the news that Steven Fletcher and Adam Johnson are back from injuries. Promising young forward Duncan Watmore misses out through illness for the Black Cats.
Jermain Defoe returns to face a club he represented on loan back in 2000; in his time at the Cherries Defoe equalled a Football League record by scoring in ten consecutive games. Visiting defender John O’Shea also had a loan spell at Bournemouth, playing 10 games for the club at the turn of the century.
League Position: Bournemouth – 16th, 4pts; Sunderland – 19th, 2pts
Last Meeting: Bournemouth 0-1 Sunderland (March 17, 1990)
Form: Bournemouth – LLWDL; Sunderland – LLDDL
Key Men: Bournemouth – Matt Ritchie; Sunderland – Jeremain Lens
Shoot Says: Bournemouth 2-1 Sunderland