Bournemouth will be without Junior Stanislas for their season opener against Manchester United at Dean Court on Sunday (14 August). Cherries boss Eddie Howe confirmed the 26-year-old winger will be unavailable for the game due to a hernia problem, and also revealed there are one or two other players in his squad carrying niggles.
Despite this, Howe is excited about playing Jose Mourinho's new-look United team in their first game, although he conceded it promises to be a tough challenge. "Manchester United coming to Bournemouth is a fantastic game," he explained during a pre-match press conference, according to the BBC.
"This will be a special game. This season will be harder. It's a challenge. We've improved but so has everybody else. The challenge will be tougher but the new players have settled in well."
United are set to hand Premier League debuts to the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Eric Bailly this weekend, while Paul Pogba could also make an appearance following his record-breaking move from Juventus. However, Howe is refusing to put too much focus on United's individual stars.
"Zlatan is a great player, but you can pick any one of their players who will be a threat to us," he said of their much-hyped opponents. "We need to improve our home form. We did well on the road and our target is to improve on last season."
Meanwhile, Howe also revealed he is looking to sign another player before the transfer window closes at the end of August. The Cherries have already signed the likes of Jordon Ibe, Lewis Cook and Brad Smith this summer, but Howe is still keen to add to his squad.
"We're hopeful of getting in one more. Our business isn't done, but that doesn't mean we will definitely sign someone," Howe said ahead of the game against United.