Newcastle manager Eddie Howe admitted it will be a “special game” when the Magpies host his former club Bournemouth on Saturday.
Howe spent nearly eight years on the south coast, overseeing the Cherries’ promotion to the Premier League and he expressed his gratitude towards the club.
He said at his pre-match press conference: “I think certainly it’s not just about me, it’s the staff as well, we’ve got a lot of people who have got a lot of connections with the club.
“I personally feel a huge sense of gratitude to the club, to everyone connected with the club during my time there.
“I wouldn’t be sat in this position now if it wasn’t for AFC Bournemouth, I just want to say a big thank you there to everyone and obviously we’re competing to win the game and are desperate to do so, but it will be a special game for us.”
Newcastle return to action after football fixtures were postponed last weekend as a mark of respect following the death of the Queen, but the Magpies will be hoping to build on the performance from their last game against Crystal Palace.
Despite having plenty of chances against Palace the match finished goalless, but Newcastle controversially had a goal chalked off after VAR ruled Joe Willock had fouled goalkeeper Vicente Guaita in the build-up to Tyrick Mitchell’s own goal.
The Professional Game Match Officials’ Board (PGMOL) later acknowledged an error had been made in the decision to disallow the goal, but Howe still felt it was a “cruel” moment.
“It was good they came out and admitted it was a clear error,” he said.
“For me it was a clear and obvious error right from the minute they disallowed the goal and I only had my real-time eye on it, but I was adamant it was a goal.
“It’s hugely disappointing when you look back on it and see it was a clear push in Joe’s back and you can see his momentum is clearly affected by that, so it was an incredible decision in a negative way for us.
“Yes, we had loads of chances in the game and should’ve won the game ourselves, but that’s a moment where we’ve created pressure, scored a legitimate goal and it’s been taken away from us, so that was really cruel.”
There are still doubts surrounding the fitness of Bruno Guimaraes, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson, but the Newcastle boss remained tight-lipped about whether they could feature against the Cherries.
He said: “Everyone’s improved, but I’ll leave my team news to the time we get it.
“It’s been a slightly difficult period for us, but hopefully we’re coming out of that, they’re big players for us, we need them back quickly.”
Howe also praised goalkeeper Nick Pope and right-back Kieran Trippier, who were both called up to the England squad ahead of the final set of international fixtures before the World Cup.
“It’s great to see players excel at club level and then take that form onto the international stage,” Howe added.
“Those two players you mentioned are passionate about playing for their country, they want to be there, they want to go to the World Cup, they’re desperate to do so, but they know their performances here dictate that.
“I think at the moment both of them are in a really good place, they’ve performed well and hopefully that continues.”
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