The first batch of pre-season friendlies have been announced by AFC Bournemouth as they prepare for life in the Championship.
The first of those friendlies will see the Cherries venture over in to Europe to face FC Zurich on July 5th in Horgen - approx 20km outside the main city.
On this European trip, manager Eddie Howe is quoted as saying in the Bournemouth Evening Echo: "FC Zurich will be very difficult opposition and it will be a totally different experience for us to play a team we wouldn't normally get a chance to. A few days after we play them, we meet West Ham and these are two really tough games to open our pre-season schedule. But we are looking forward to playing really good opposition heading into what we know is going to be a really difficult season. Pre-season has got to be a good test for us this year. We are looking for good games because the league we are going into will be ruthless and, in some senses, we have to try to prepare for that. FC Zurich will be one of the hardest games we will face because, as with a lot of foreign teams, they will be very good technically. It is going to be a real test, both on and off the ball. Playing both them and West Ham so early in pre-season will certainly give us a good marker in terms of where we are with our fitness. I always think it is good to get the players together and to take them into a different environment. It will give us a chance to work on things and will give any new players we may sign a chance to bond with the squad. Having a training camp certainly accelerates the team-building process".
The full programme on friendlies known so far are:July 5 v FC Zurich (a)Stephen Purches TestimonialJuly 13 v West Ham United (h)July 23 v Portsmouth (h)July 27 v Bristol City (h)
On the Bristol City match, Brett Pitman was quoted as saying: "Although I felt I didn't really get a fair crack of the whip at Bristol City, that is all in the past now and I am looking forward to playing them. A lot has changed at the club since I was there and they are in good hands under Sean O'Driscoll. He is an excellent manager and gets his teams playing the right way so it will be a good test for us. I won't have anything to prove to them and my focus will be on preparing for the new season with us".
Source: Cherries MAD