West Ham United Academy graduate Stephen Purches cannot wait to take on his former side in his testimonial match at AFC Bournemouth on Saturday.

Purches, 33, joined West Ham as a ten-year-old schoolboy and had two seasons as a professional at the Boleyn Ground before leaving for Bournemouth at the age of 20 in 2000.

Aside from a three-year spell at Leyton Orient in the middle, he has spent the intervening period on the south coast and is relishing the prospect of celebrating ten years with the Cherries by welcoming the Hammers to town.

He told whufc.com: "The planning has gone on for a long time and I can't wait for Saturday, it's going to be a special day. I have to say thank you to both clubs, and it's extra-special because it is West Ham. I spent ten years there, and now I've been here for ten years, so it's great that it's all come together.

"There are still people at the Club from my time there - Pete Williams the kit man, [Academy Director] Tony Carr, Joe Cole was in the youth team with me, and it'll be nice to catch up with some of the old faces.

"With Bournemouth being promoted to the Championship last season, there's a real feelgood factor here, the sun will be out, so hopefully there'll be a good turnout too."

Stephen Purches
Purches in his Hammers days

Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side are sure to provide a stern test for the Hammers, having played a brand of attractive football en route to winning promotion to the second tier last term.

Right-back Purches missed all of the 2012/13 campaign after suffering a nasty leg break in February 2012, but has now returned to training and will be fit enough to play his part on Saturday.

He continued: "Ever since the testimonial started to be arranged around Christmas time, my aim has been to come back in time to play in it, so I'm really pleased to be back in training now.

"The match sharpness isn't there, but the main thing is that I'll be able to get out there on the pitch with the lads again. It's a good feeling, and it'll also give me closure after spending so much time out with the injury.

"It's going to be a good game for both sides, the teams will be strong and will give each other a test, so it'll be useful for both at this stage of pre-season."

West Ham's allocation of tickets for this match has completely sold out, so a bumper crowd is expected at the Goldsands Stadium for Saturday's 3pm kick-off. For more details, click here.

Away kit