CHRISTIAN ATSU insists he has “nothing to prove” to Bournemouth as he prepares to meet his former club for the first time since spending an unsuccessful six-month loan spell at Dean Court.

Atsu spent the first half of the 2015-16 season with Bournemouth, but did not make a single Premier League appearance as his involvement was restricted to a couple of low-key run-outs in the League Cup.

With his chances of an extended run in the Cherries team all-but-non-existent, he joined Spanish side Malaga and impressed sufficiently to earn a loan move to Newcastle United the following summer.

That loan became a permanent £6.5m transfer in May, and Atsu has established himself as a permanent fixture in Rafael Benitez’s first-choice line-up as the Magpies have successfully re-established themselves in the Premier League following last season’s promotion.

He is set to retain his place on the flank when Bournemouth visit St James’ Park tomorrow, but will not be trying to make a personal point despite the identity of the opposition.

“I have nothing to prove to Bournemouth,” said Atsu, who was this week named on the shortlist for the 2017 African Player of the Year award. “I think they are a very good team and they have a great manager. They are very good on the ball, so it will be a very difficult game.

“I was unlucky there. I had a lot of injuries when I was in Bournemouth, and the team was also doing well so it was difficult for the coach to change the squad.

“The blame is not on anybody. This is football, so I’m just working hard now and trying to focus on Newcastle.

“I know how Bournemouth play, but when you get on the field, it’s a different story all together. We just need to stick to our game plan, and work hard to try and improve what we have been doing throughout the season.”

Atsu has featured in all of Newcastle’s league games so far this term, but his only goal came in September’s 2-1 home win over Stoke City.

While the Magpies have proved hard to beat this term, they have only scored ten goals in their ten league matches, and while Benitez’s priority is generally to keep things tight, there is a need to add more of a goal threat to Newcastle’s play.

Atsu and Matt Ritchie have defensive responsibilities in their wide positions, but with Joselu struggling in his lone attacking role, Benitez will be looking for his midfielders to start adding to their goals tally.

“I’m working hard for the team, but I think I need to score more goals and create more chances for the other players,” said Atsu. “We were very disappointed after we lost the game against Burnley, but we’re focused on the next game, which is the most important game now.

“I believe we could have got points at Burnley. We created a lot of chances, but could not score. We accept this and keep focused and keep trying to improve.”

Monday’s 1-0 defeat at Burnley means Newcastle have now suffered three reverses on their travels, but their home record of three wins from five matches is surpassed by only three Premier League teams.

They have seen off West Ham, Stoke and Crystal Palace on Tyneside, and are preparing to encounter a Bournemouth side that have picked up just three points on the road this season.

Performances at St James’ Park were always going to be crucial to Newcastle’s prospects, and skipper Jamaal Lascelles was always confident his side would flourish in front of their own fans.

“We definitely want to continue our form at home, where we’ve started well,” said Lascelles. “I said at the start of the season that I thought we’d do well at home, and I don’t see why we can’t or won’t continue that.

“Bournemouth are struggling a bit at the moment, but it’ll be a difficult game. Every match is in the Premier League.

“We need to forget about the (Burnley) game, take the positives from it, do well in training, prepare well, work hard and take all three points on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle goalkeeper Freddie Woodman has been named in the England Under-21s squad for next week’s European Championships qualifier with Ukraine.

Woodman is one of three goalkeepers named in Aidy Boothroyd’s squad for the match in Kiev, along with Angus Gunn, who is on loan at Norwich City from Manchester City, and Dean Henderson, who is on loan at Shrewsbury Town from Manchester United.