By 90Min
November 02, 2017

Matt Ritchie has admitted that it will be "strange" to face off against Bournemouth with Newcastle United host his former club on Saturday.

The ex-Cherries winger departed the south coast for north east England in a £12m deal in the summer of 2016 after the Magpies had suffered relegation from the Premier League.

With Newcastle back in the top flight after 12 months away, Ritchie will take on his friends and former colleagues for the first time at the weekend - something he told the Chronicle Live would be a surreal moment for him.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

He said: “I’m looking forward to facing Bournemouth. It’ll be a strange feeling playing against some friends and people that I spent probably the best years of my life with.

“We secured some fantastic achievements with that group of players and the manager and the staff. I had a brilliant time there."

With only Newcastle's ambitions part of his make up now, though, the 28-year-old explained how he would be aiming to get one over Eddie Howe's struggling side at St. James' Park.

He continued: “It’ll be strange to now be up against them but I’m a Newcastle player now and I want us to collect another three points at home.

“The last time they were at St James’ Park, I was in a Bournemouth shirt and we really made it difficult for Newcastle that day.

“This time around, I’m hoping it’s the opposite and we make life difficult for them and get the win we want. It’s about continuing our promising home form.”

Ritchie bagged 12 goals for Rafa Benitez's side last term to help Newcastle gain promotion at the first time of asking last season, but is yet to get off the mark in 2017/18.

He went on to add that he was desperate to end his goal drought as soon as possible - althought he revealed he was happy with his overall form.

Ritchie said: “I’m chomping at the bit to get a goal. I was unlucky against Crystal Palace. I tried to squeeze one through the defender’s legs but just got blocked off. 

“I’m happy so far with my assists, but individually we all need to improve, raise the bar and get better, and the same goes for the team. We simply have to keep improving.”

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