Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe wants to give Cherries fans something to smile about again by beating fellow strugglers Newcastle on Saturday.
After the highs of a first promotion to the Barclays Premier League, the south-coast club have been brought back down to earth by five defeats from their last six matches in all competitions as well as injuries to key men including captain Tommy Elphick, Tyrone Mings, Callum Wilson and Max Gradel.
Bournemouth sit just one place and one point ahead of the Magpies, who are 18th and still smarting from their recent defeat to north-east rivals Sunderland.
Howe, whose team lost to neighbours Southampton in their last game, knows it will be no easy ride in Saturday’s early kick-off at the Goldsands Stadium, but is determined his players should rise to the challenge.
He said: “I have seen a good reaction after the Southampton game, but I would expect that. The acid test of that will be how we perform now on Saturday.
“We hope to give a true home performance, that is what we are looking for. We want our supporters to back us as well as us giving them something to sing about.”
Howe added: “Confidence levels are not as high as they can be, but that is only natural given the results we have had.
“The next game is always the biggest, bigger than the last one. We want to get points off everybody, and this one will be no different.
“Newcastle have some very good individual players who are capable of performing very well when they are confident, and they can be a tough game for anyone in the division, so we certainly won’t underestimate them.”
Goalkeeper Artur Boruc has been nursing a thigh problem, so Adam Federici came in for the Capital One Cup tie against Liverpool and the Premier League defeat at Sunderland.
Defender Steve Cook (foot/ankle) will also be assessed.
Boruc was exposed in the 5-1 home trashing by Tottenham on October 25, and Howe will not rush the Poland international back into action.
“He has to be fit and available for selection and be 100 per cent, I think that is the key point,” said Howe.
“There is no doubt in my mind that in the Tottenham game, he probably wasn’t and that impacted on his performance levels.
“If he is available for selection, I’ll have to make a choice, but that is no difference to what I do in every other position each week.”