By Jonathan Nagioff (@jonathannagioff)
AFC Bournemouth manager has emphasised the importance of Sunday’s fixture as his side face local rivals Southampton at the Vitality Stadium.
The Cherries suffered a first defeat in five games in midweek with high-flying Burnley picking up a narrow 2-1 victory.
And Bournemouth now head into a packed festive period with 8 games to tackle in December and Howe insists that his side cannot afford to drop points this month.
Howe told the media at his pre-match press conference, “I think its imperative that you get everything you can out of every game.
“I think the way we played in certain games was really positive. We ended this month with a real disappointment but that’s this league for you.
“What’s important now is this month and with so many games to come in the month, with how busy it is, we can’t afford to have a bad December. We need to be competitive and start the month in good fashion, starting on Sunday.”
Bournemouth have tough games to come, with trips to both Manchester clubs and a home match against Liverpool all on the horizon, as well as the Carabao Cup quarter final tie against Chelsea.
But Howe will be focusing on the derby against Southampton in the meantime and has highlighted the significance of bringing the crowd into the game.
“Against Burnley we didn’t get the supporters into the game, it was a really difficult watch for them on Wednesday.
“The atmosphere was flat but that was purely down to us. We didn’t allow the crowd into the game.
“We’ve got to make sure against Southampton tat we do involve the crowd and we do give them something to get behind us with.”
The Saints have only won two of their last six fixtures and amassed just one win in November in an impressive 4-1 thrashing of Everton.
Mauricio Pellegrino’s side were agonisingly beaten in the week with Raheem Sterling’s injury time winner denying them a point against league leader Manchester City.
And Howe is fully aware of the threat they will bring to the Vitality Stadium.
He exclusively told the Bournemouth Rock, “I think they’ve got good players. I respect the quality of squad they have.
“They’ve got players in attacking positions who can play.
“I think the Everton game was a really important result for them and the Manchester City game is a tough way to lose.
“We experienced that against Man City, with almost the last kick of the game and they experienced that themselves.
“We respect them, but we know that when we turn up we can give anyone a game here.”
The Bournemouth boss did not draw too much on the possibility of bringing back Lewis Grabban in January, who is currently on loan at Sunderland and has scored 10 goals in 16 games, but did explain that there is a recall clause in the deal.
In terms of injury news, Junior Stanislas is the only doubt for Sunday, with a late call to be made on the midfielder who is 50-50 to feature.
AFC Bournemouth face Southampton at 1.30pm at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.