Sport Soccer

Friday 6 December 2019

West Ham boss Slaven Bilic already up to speed when it comes to Benik Afobe

Benik Afobe is set to make his Bournemouth debut against West Ham
Benik Afobe is set to make his Bournemouth debut against West Ham

Slaven Bilic does not need to swot up on Bournemouth new boy Benik Afobe - as he was expecting to face him three days earlier.

Striker Afobe was due to be in the Wolves squad which travelled to Upton Park in the FA Cup on Saturday, only to be withdrawn as transfer talks with the Cherries progressed.

The former Arsenal youngster tied up the big-money switch on Sunday and is now poised to make his Bournemouth debut on Tuesday night, ironically against Bilic's Hammers.

"We were expecting him to play on Saturday so I have already watched him in a few games," said the West Ham boss. "He's a very good player.

"They have also signed Juan Iturbe from Roma who is a great winger. Bournemouth are thinking big so well done to them.

"They had a lot of injuries and have done well to maintain good results without those players, but they have probably been waiting for this transfer window."

Bournemouth were surprise 4-3 winners at Upton Park in August, so Bilic knows exactly what to expect from Eddie Howe's men as they attempt to make amends in the reverse fixture.

"They are a good side, they have been together a long time with same manager, and now they have added a couple of players who they needed," added Bilic.

"They are playing good football and the biggest thing is they don't have negative pressure. They got promoted, and although it's important to stay up they are enjoying it.

"You can see in the games every player is positive, they are not afraid of the ball. They enjoy playing football.

"They are well organised, they are hard to beat, they run a lot and they did it here when they beat us 4-3, so we are very aware of what to expect when we play them."

Bilic has also dismissed suggestions that West Ham are looking to sign Charlie Austin this month.

The Hammers are third favourites to land the QPR striker with some bookmakers, but Bilic says he has no idea why.

"Charlie Austin? That hasn't come from the club," he said. "He's a good player, of course, but he was linked with most of the clubs when they (Rangers) got relegated.

"We were among those clubs in the summer but we chose other options, and now we are not looking for that sort of player."

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