John Smiths Stadium, Saturday 9th August, 3pm
Huddersfield Town Predicted Starting XI: (3-5-2) Smithies, Peltier (c), Smith, Lynch, Dixon, Hammill, Norwood, Majewski, Hogg, Ward, Wells
Bournemouth Predicted Starting XI: (4-4-2)Buchel, Francis, Elphick (c), Ward, Daniels, Ritchie, Fraser, Gosling, O’Kane, Kermorgant, Wilson.
Match Odds from William Hill: Huddersfield 17/10; Draw 21/10; Bournemouth 17/10
> Bournemouth have won 3 of their last 4 meetings with the Terriers, losing the other 5-1 at the John Smiths Stadium last August.
> However, The Cherries have won only 1 of their last 11 trips to Huddersfield. That was in 2011, when they won 1-0 in a League 1 fixture.
After a nervy end to last season, Huddersfield will be looking for something more to shout about this campaign. And they’ll be looking to get off to the perfect start against their south cost opponents. However they have had a fairly quiet summer in the transfer market so far, making only four signings in the lead up to the new season. They have snapped up Lee Peltier from local rivals Leeds, Goalkeeper Joe Murphy from Coventry and two midfielder’s; Radaslaw Majewski from Nottingham Forest, and Conor Coady, who signed just this week for an undisclosed fee from Liverpool. They may prove vital signings with the expected departure of Adam Clayton to Middlesbrough, as they will be looking to fill the void left by the ex Leeds man as quickly as possible. However Coady may just take a place on the bench this Saturday, with manager Mark Robins perhaps thinking the new man needs a week to settle into the squad. This will give Oliver Norwood and Jonathan Hogg the chance to re-stake their claims for a regular starting birth after ending the season in disappointing fashion. Goalscoring was a real problem for Town in the second half of last season. However, with James Vaughan picking up another injury in pre season, fans waiting to see how him and Nahki Wells partner up front will be waiting a little longer. A spirited 2-2 display against Newcastle’s influx of new talent on Tuesday night will give them confidence heading into the new campaign.
The Cherries have let 11 players go this summer, including their top scorer last season Lewis Grabban, who has signed for Norwich. You could argue that they have been equally quiet in terms of players coming in. However they have replaced the departures with a mixture of quality and experience. Dan Gosling and Junior Stanislas, who both have Premier League appearances to their name, have arrived on free transfers from Newcastle and Burnley respectively. Perhaps their most important signing though has been hot prospect Callum Wilson, who scored 22 goals in 44 games for Coventry last season, and will be seen as an ideal replacement for Grabban. Billy Cargill will also feel like a new signing after returning to the club this season following a loan spell with Torquay, and he’ll be looking to challenge skipper Tommy Elphick, Steve Cook and Elliot Ward for regular football in the centre of the Bournemouth defence. Manager Eddie Howe is well respected in the game, and many believe he can continue to improve the south coast outfit this season. Evidence for this is proven with a successful pre season campaign that saw them most notably claim a 3-1 win against Premier League Swansea. With an improvement on their 10th place finish last season more than in there sights, there is no reason why the Cherries fans can’t dream of a play off challenge this time around.
Match Prediction: Both sides have now got plenty of experience in this division, and will want to get off to a positive start. Despite Bournemouth’s poor record at Huddersfield, I believe with their ever improving side can take a point if not all three.
Huddersfield 1-1 Bournemouth