'Welcome back to the Premier League!' - Why facing big-hitters early might be good for Cherries

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Everton TV pundit Kevin Campbell in the stands before the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.
Everton TV pundit Kevin Campbell in the stands before the Premier League match at Goodison Park, Liverpool.

FORMER Premier League striker Kevin Campbell believes newly-promoted clubs could benefit from facing some of the league's big-hitters during the early weeks of the campaign.

Campbell, 52, represented eight clubs throughout his career, with his most prolific spells coming at Arsenal, Everton and Nottingham Forest.

Cherries are set to return to the top flight this season after two years away and last week learnt their fixture schedule.

Scott Parker's men will begin by hosting Aston Villa on August 6, before clashes against three of last season's top five in Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool. Games against Wolves and Nottingham Forest round off their first six.

Discussing Cherries' opening fixtures in his role as a pundit on Sky Sports, Campbell said: "Welcome back to the Premier League! Because everywhere you look, there's teams with quality.

"These teams have got money. They've been able to invest and they're going to invest before the season.

"So it's going to be tough.

"Bournemouth came up automatically, Scott Parker knows what he's doing, you want to be getting these teams early.

"So as many points and wins as you can get out of those first six, you get them, get points on the board as quickly as you can."

Fellow promoted side Fulham begin their campaign away at Liverpool, before also facing Arsenal and Tottenham in their first six.

Asked if starting against Liverpool is the kind of game you want first, Campbell insisted: "100 per cent. You want to hit the ground running.

"The saying is the Premier League doesn't settle down until probably after 10 games.

"So to get these games early, you never know. You can catch teams on the hop, you can catch teams not quite at their peak."

The third promoted Championship side, Nottingham Forest, face Newcastle, West Ham, Everton, Tottenham and Man City, before welcoming Cherries for their sixth game.

Asked which of the three promoted teams he feels has the toughest start, Campbell, who netted an opening-day hat-trick for Forest in 1996, said: "If I'm honest, with the names, you could say Bournemouth.

"But I think Nottingham Forest have got the toughest six games.

"Because if they're not teams that were challenging at the top, like an Everton under Frank Lampard, they're going to want to hit the ground running, they're going to want to make sure they're fully engaged. And Bournemouth is going to be another tough game for Forest.

"But it's the Premier League and Nottingham Forest under Steve Cooper, a very positive manager, gets players on board, gets players' minds right and they go for it. They're not going to sit back. So I think they could be the surprise this season, Forest."

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