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For fans of AFC Bournemouth, the waiting is finally over as the Cherries are set for their first game in the Championship. It's been over twenty years since there was second division football at Dean Court, during which time the league's title has been rebranded twice. Charlton are the first team to visit this time around, and will bring with them a significant following from London.
For Eddie Howe, the summer pre-season period has been a pretty stressful time. Players have seemingly dropped like flies as injuries have really taken their toll although there are hopes that the worst could be over with the new season now upon us. Matt Richie, Marc Pugh, Brett Pitman, Eunan O'Kane and first choice keeper Ryan Allsop have all had spells on the sidelines, and there would most likely be doubts over whether Ritchie will be able to take to the field even now.
It all adds up to an increased possibility of Wes Thomas featuring. He has a few games Championship experience and a handful of goals to his name at that level so far, so may not be a bad shout. His involvement may not prove popular with the fans though, who have struggled to take to him after a lot of perceived negativity in the press emanating from the player over the last couple of years. Also likely to be involved are new signgings Elliott Ward, Ian Harte and loan man Drew Surman, as well as the leading star of pre-season in the form of former Grasshoppers Zurich man Mohamed Coulibaly although their involvement is not certain by any means. Particularly in the wide areas, the Cherries have a plethora of available talent with former Aberdeen man Ryan Fraser looking especially lively in pre-season.
Charlton will almost certainly feature new loan signing Marvin Sordell. The Bolton man, and leading star of the Great Britain Olympic squad, will be expected to get a lot more first team action in South London than was the case up in Lancashire, where there is greater competition for the starting role.
AFCB 0 - 0 Charlton Athletic
I wouldn't want to be unnecessarily pessimistic about our chances in this game, but can't help but feel that the shift up may be a tricky one to deal with on the opening day. We'd be reasonably pleased with a point, I think.
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