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curzon ashton 3 1000x500Having played all three away games against Bournemouth, Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League Cup, today sees us play our first home game in this season’s competition.

Currently bottom of Group C, we face leaders Bournemouth themselves are three points clear at the top having beaten us and West Brom and drawn against Liverpool. They have seven points with West Brom on four while both us and Liverpool have two points with us behind on goal difference and that is down to our results against Bournemouth with Liverpool losing by just one goal and us suffering a 7-1 reverse on a day when Bournemouth played a very strong team.

With the top two going through to the knock out stage, it is looking a tough ask, but we were so, so close to winning at West Brom recently and had we done so we would have been going into this game in second place in the table. Today’s game, however, could be the toughest of them although the Liverpool and West Brom games, both to be played in February, are against category 1 teams.

Bournemouth fielded players such as Charlie Daniels and former Claret Marc Pugh in the first game and much could hinge on the respective teams. Just four days ago we included all of Nick Pope, Stephen Ward and Steven Defour in the team that beat Fleetwood in the Lancashire Senior Cup. Pope could feature again but I wouldn’t expect either of Ward or Defour to be involved.

Coach Steve Stone, referring to the two draws at Liverpool and West Brom, said: “We defended an awful lot in both of those games. I can shape up my team to do that, it’s can we go the other side and start to break teams down. We have to start to do that, but that comes with quality in the final third and I just need a bit more of that at the minute and that’s my job to try and do that and them to listen to what I’m trying to get them to do.”

Kick off today at Curzon Ashton is at 1 p.m. which is one hour earlier than the usual kick off time for league games.

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