September 10, 2015

While Bournemouth claimed the Championship title ahead of Norwich City last season, it is the south coast club who enter Saturday's contest between the two with a score to settle.

Norwich (1-1-2) host the Cherries on Saturday in the first clash between newly promoted sides of this Premier League campaign.

The Canaries took four points off Bournemouth (1-1-2) in England's second tier last campaign, but Cherries' manager Eddie Howe is undaunted by the prospect of playing a team they have recently struggled against.

Howe prefers to view the encounter as a litmus test of his team's Premier League credentials.

"Norwich have proved they're going to be competitive this year," Howe told Bournemouth's official club website. "They're well managed and we face a tough test.

"The game will be a good marker for us to see how much we have improved over the summer."

While there is plenty of incentive for Bournemouth, Norwich aren't exactly lacking motivation ahead of the match after the Cherries attempted to lure forward Lewis Grabban away during the transfer window.

Grabban was apparently unsettled by the club turning down multiple bids from the Cherries prior to the close of the window.

It remains to be seen whether the Canaries reinstate the striker for Saturday after he was suspended for walking out on the team prior to a Capital One Cup match at Rotherham United in the midst of those offers from Saturday's opponents.

The forward, however, remains at the club for now and manager Alex Neil bolstered his squad further with a late double swoop on deadline day by securing loan moves for Dieumerci Mbokani from Dynamo Kiev and Matt Jarvis from West Ham United.

Both are in line to play against Bournemouth, and for Jarvis, it would be his second game of the season against the Cherries after he played 45 minutes in West Ham's 4-3 loss before the international break.

"You only have to look at what he's (Canaries boss Neil) done and the team has done in recent times." Jarvis told the official club website. "It's a fantastic journey the club has been on and hopefully we can kick on now."

Norwich enter the game looking to bounce back from a 3-0 loss to Southampton in their last outing.

They will be without Steven Whittaker, banned after his sending off in that game, Youssouf Mulumbu through a foot injury and potentially also Grabban.

The international break came at a good time for Bournemouth as the pause in the action allowed for some recuperation and regrouping among an ever increasing list of injury concerns.

"The break was good because it allowed the injuries to sink in, but now we want to press on and support those players," Howe said. "It's down to us now to move on in a positive way and support those lads until they get back."

Bournemouth will be without Tyrone Mings, Max Gradel (both knee) and Harry Arter (hip) for the trip to Norfolk while Charlie Daniels is doubtful.

Grabban was on target when the sides last met at Carrow Road in the Championship last season, cancelling out a first half stoppage-time Callum Wilson goal fifteen minutes from time.

The Canaries won the reverse meeting at Dean Court 2-1 in January. Matthew Ritchie had the hosts in front after 18 minutes, but Gary Hooper equalised before halftime and Cameron Jerome hit the winner with 10 minutes left.

This will be the first ever top flight meeting between Norwich and Bournemouth

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