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Bournemouth prepare to kick off against Aston Villa

The Cherries are ready for the top flight Credit: ITV

AFC Bournemouth kick off in the Premier League at home to Aston Villa on Saturday. The promotion celebrations in May were the latest chapter in the Cherries' rollercoaster ride; penniless and almost out of business in the late 90s to the top flight this weekend. Credit of course to manager Eddie Howe and his players - but this is a community success story, as Martin Dowse reports.

Cherries to face Aston Villa on first day

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe Credit: ITV

Bournemouth fans didn't have to wait too long to find out who they'll be playing when they begin life in the Premier League for the first time - the fixtures were released today

The good news is the Cherries' first match is a home tie - against Aston Villa on August 8th.

Opening day games for the rest of our teams include a long trip north to Newcastle for Saints. In the Championship Reading are away to Birmingham, and Brighton host Nottingham Forest.

League One Swindon begin the season at home - while in League Two, Oxford and Portsmouth also start the campaign in front of home crowds.

AFC Bournemouth sign Christian Atsu on loan

AFC Bournemouth have their continued Barclays Premier League preparations with the season long loan signing of Christian Atsu from Chelsea, subject to Premier League approval.

The Ghana international, who signed for the Blues in September 2013, operates as a winger, although he can also play as an attacking midfielder.

Since joining the Premier League champions, Atsu has gained experience out on loan with Everton and Vitesse.

Collecting almost 40 caps for his country since his debut in 2012, he has played in the 2014 World Cup and was selected for two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments for Ghana.

The midfielder started his professional career in Portugal with Porto, where he was coached by former Chelsea and Tottenham manager Andre Villas Boas.

He continued his development with Rio Ave as he won the club’s player of the season award and attracted the attention of Chelsea.

The London side paid a reported fee of £3.5million for Atsu and offered him a five-year contract, with the chance to impress with Vitesse in the Eredivisie.

On his return to England 12 months ago, he agreed a loan deal to play under Roberto Martinez for Everton in the Premier League and Europa League.

Departing for international duty at the Africa Cup of Nation in January, Atsu was named the player of the tournament following a number of impressive performances.

The 23-year-old will be available to feature for the Cherries in the league, but unable to face his parent club in fixtures at the Goldsands Stadium and Stamford Bridge.

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