Following the conclusion of the Championship Play-Offs on Tuesday night, the 23 teams who PNE will be facing in next season’s Championship have been confirmed.
AFC Bournemouth, Watford and Norwich City couldn’t avoid the drop into the second tier while Coventry City, Rotherham United and Wycombe Wanderers make up those promoted from League One.
As we approach the new campaign, we are putting the division’s new sides under the microscope in our ‘In Focus’ series, starting with AFC Bournemouth whose five-year spell in the top flight came to can end on the final day of the season.
An Empty Dugout
A long and successful era at AFC Bournemouth under Eddie Howe came to an end at the beginning of August as the club announced his departure.
As a player he made over 300 appearances for the Cherries over two separate spells before leading them, as a manager, to three promotions from League Two to the top flight.
His side were often overlooked and backed for relegation during their stint in the Premier League, but year upon year they defied that expectation until now.
Since the confirmation of Howe’s departure, former teammates, players and supporters have shared their gratitude for everything he has done for their careers and for the club itself.
It is thought that Howe’s assistant Jason Tindall may be considered for the vacant managerial job, but there have been plenty of other names mentioned for the position so it remains to be seen who will be in the dugout come the weekend of 12th September.
Howe admitted after Bournemouth’s final game of the season that they’d dipped below the levels they have hit in previous campaigns and held his hands up to take responsibility for that.
Despite the overall disappointment, there were some standout positive results within the campaign, beating Manchester United and Chelsea as well as the 4-1 victory at home to Leicester City with three games to go which offered hope that they could avoid the drop.
They put in one of their best performances of the season on the final day as they beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park but results elsewhere decided their fate.
Ultimately, they’d left themselves too much to do due to poor spells during the campaign, including a nine-game winless run which started and ended either side of lockdown.
As always with relegated teams, it’s difficult to predict who will stay at the club and who will be poached by teams in the top flight.
The likes of Nathan Aké and Josh King have been key performers for the Cherries not just this season but for a few years now and it may prove to be a difficult task to hold on to the pair.
They won’t be the only ones who will have suitors during the summer window, with the likes of Jefferson Lerma and Callum Wilson also likely to attract attention.
Bournemouth’s squad is well equipped with young players who will be hungry to impress and one man they will be hoping can shine back in the second tier is David Brooks.
The Welsh international joined from Sheffield United in the summer of 2018 and had a brilliant first campaign in the top flight, scoring seven and assisting five from right wing, but he missed most of the last term with an ankle injury.
At the age of 23, Brooks is an exciting talent who has already been capped 12 times by his national side, Wales.
Other Bournemouth assets include former Football League Young Player of the Year winner Lewis Cook, full back Jack Stacey and ex-Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke who ended the Premier League season with a bang.
North End didn’t cross paths with Bournemouth until 1974 when Mike Elwiss and Mel Holden were among those on the scoresheet in a 5-2 victory.
Their last league head-to-head was in League One in 2013 as caretaker manager John Dreyer led PNE to a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Stuart Beavon and Bailey Wright just a few days before Simon Grayson took over.
The two have met a couple of times in the cup since that fixture, with the last meeting being the 3-2 Carabao Cup victory which saw Simon Makienok score a hattrick at the Vitality Stadium.
Interestingly, when the sides do face each other next season it’ll be their first ever meeting in the second tier.
Keep an eye on PNE.Com and across our social media channels for more In Focus features where we will take a look at the other new teams arriving in the Championship.