Bournemouth v Derby clash 'not just another game', says Howe

Derby game will not decide season - Eddie Howe

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe says Tuesday's home game with Derby has extra significance for both sides.

Leaders Bournemouth are level on points with the Rams at the summit of the Championship table, with only goal difference separating the sides.

"I can't downplay it and say it's just another game," the 37-year-old told BBC Radio Solent.

"We're playing one of our rivals. For us it's about the performance - we want to give the best account of ourselves."

In September, Derby defeated Bournemouth 2-0 thanks to two late goals at the iPro Stadium, but Howe is hoping home advantage works in his side's favour on Tuesday.

"Hopefully with a sell-out crowd willing us on it should be a good night," he said.

"I don't have to say too much to the players. It's not a final but it is a big game."

Bournemouth's record v the top six
30 JanuaryBeat Watford 2-0 (H)
22 November Drew 2-2 with Ipswich (H)
8 NovemberDrew 0-0 with Middlesbrough (A)
30 September Lost 2-0 to Derby (A)
20 SeptemberDrew 1-1 v Watford (A)
16 AugustBeat Brentford 1-0 (H)

The Cherries have recorded two wins from six matches against the sides in the automatic promotion and play-off places in the Championship and Howe admitted it was a record he was keen to improve.

"We need to do better against the teams around us in the league - that's probably our next challenge," he said.

"The players have grown in maturity with the exposure they've had this season and hopefully the best is yet to come."

Midfielder Harry Arter, who has started every league match this campaign, said the the game's timing meant that the result would not define either side's season.

"As much as it is important and we want to win and stay ahead of Derby, there's 16 games after this," he told BBC South Today.

"I don't think it's going to shape our season in any way and it's the same for Derby."

Callum Wilson
Callum Wilson has scored 14 league goals in his first season in the Championship

Bournemouth beat Wigan 3-1 on Saturday to stay on track for promotion to the top flight for the first time in their history, with Callum Wilson's brace taking his tally for the season to 17 in all competitions and Yann Kermorgant grabbing his 10th goal of the campaign.

"Callum was excellent against Wigan - not just his goals but his hold-up play is improving all the time," said Howe.

"With his pace and strength he's a real menace and his performances have improved steadily as the season has unfolded. The goals are the icing on the cake.

"I'm really pleased with the partnership. Yann was tireless and his goal came from closing down and then a superb finish at the end."