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New chairman Bill Foley has insisted Bournemouth will not be relegated this season as he targets European qualification within the next five years.

Foley, who completed his takeover earlier this month, intends to do with the Cherries what he has done with NHL side Vegas Golden Knights, which he also owns, and establish them as a force in the top flight.

Foley told the Bournemouth Daily Echo: “We’re not going to be relegated. That’s not going to happen.

“Our goal is to make sure we stay up, to give the club the proper resources to stay up and then, beyond that, to really start investing in infrastructure.”

Promoted Bournemouth currently lie in 14th place in the table ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Crystal Palace, just three points clear of the relegation zone, although Foley has loftier aims for the future.

He said: “In five years, we should be between sixth and ninth in the table, consistently, in that range.”

Asked if that meant challenging for European qualification, he added: “Yes, exactly. Why shouldn’t we? We’ve got to do all the infrastructure, we’ve got to keep on buying and getting the players here.
“We’ve got to keep the players happy, we have to make this a place where people want to come, they want to live and they want to play football.”

In the short term, the Cherries will attempt to ease their way further clear of the bottom three by bouncing back from Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat at Chelsea with victory over Patrick Vieira’s Eagles, who have lost their last two games to fellow newcomers Nottingham Forest and Fulham.

However, they will do so while dealing with the impact of a virus which has swept through the camp and sent manager Gary O’Neil to his sickbed after addressing his players on Friday.

First team coach Tommy Elphick stood in for O’Neil, who hopes to be in the dugout on Saturday, at the pre-match press conference and said: “He’s been struck down by the virus, but he was well enough to get in and deliver what he needed to deliver to the lads this morning. So they were the priority, not you guys.

“I’m sorry for that, but he’s struggling a little bit.”

Elphick revealed the club would make a series of late decisions on affected players and would hopefully have some of them available, but admitted the squad could be similar to that which they had available at Stamford Bridge.