After the opening two fixtures of the football league season, its Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth who sit top of the pyramid with maximum points after following up their 4-0 hammering of Huddersfield with a battling 1-0 victory over Championship newcomers Brentford on Saturday.
After achieving their record high finish of 10th position in their first season back in the second tier of English football, the optimism has been high on the south coast over the summer and after an impressive start which has yielded three successive wins and clean sheets, the Cherries faithful are hoping for another successful season at the Goldsands Stadium. Boss Eddie Howe has recruited well in the summer, with the free transfers of former Burnley winger Junior Stanislas and Dan Gosling who made the move from Newcastle whilst forking out £2.5 million on Callum Wilson from Coventry to replace the departing Lewis Grabban who headed for Norwich City in a £3 million deal.
But what is a successful season for the Cherries? Most fans would feel that after years of financial turmoil in the lower reaches of the football league that cementing their place in the second tier would represent a year of progress for the south coast club. Some would not. With the financial backing of Russian owner Maxim Demin, the ambition of the club has never been higher with the ultimate aim of reaching the Premier League. The promising start to the season has already meant the word “play- offs” is being whispered around the Goldsands and many would feel that is a realistic objective. The next three games for the Cherries will be a much clearer marker of how successful this season could be, as they entertain Nottingham Forest at home tomorrow night before embarking on trips to Blackburn and Norwich before the end of the month. Should they remain unbeaten after these games, many will feel that the Cherries are realistic promotion contenders.