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Development Squad

Greenwood return a major boost for Cherries


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth development squad manager Alan Connell has described as “a major boost” the return to fitness of influential defender Ben Greenwood.

Greenwood impressed first-team head coach Andoni Iraola during pre-season and was named on the bench for the Premier League opener against West Ham.

He featured in friendlies against Hibernian, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Southampton and started the Cherries first two Professional Development League games.

But the 21-year-old, who penned a new contract in May, has been sidelined since damaging a tendon in his hamstring during a training session at the end of August.

Greenwood is set to take his first steps on the comeback trail this week with the Cherries hosting Charlton Athletic in the Professional Development League on Tuesday and visiting Colchester United on Friday.

Connell’s team will be hoping to follow up last week’s 4-0 win over the Addicks in the Premier League Cup when they renew rivalries at Wimborne Town’s New Cuthbury headquarters where entry is free to supporters (1pm kick-off).

Discussing Greenwood’s return, Connell told afcb.co.uk: “Ben’s injury forced him to miss our past four games which is a shame because he had put a lot of work in ahead of the new season.

“It was a great experience for him being with the first team for the duration of pre-season, going away with them to Marbella and playing in their friendlies. He put himself in a position where he was under the watchful eye of the first-team staff.

“He then played our first two games of the season in the Professional Development League before sustaining his injury. He’s been working hard on his rehab and it’s great to have him back in training.

“To have him back is a major boost and if the first team deem he needs games with us then it’s good for us as a team to have a player of Ben’s quality available.”

Daniel Adu-Adjei netted twice and assisted for Balraj Landa’s two goals as the Cherries eased to victory against Charlton seven days ago, although Connell is fully aware the result will count for nothing when the teams lock horns at New Cuthbury.

Connell added: “I’ve said before, Daniel has a very bright future ahead of him and he showed that again against Charlton.

“They are going to want to try to keep him quiet in this game so it’s important we find ways to get him in front of goal again.

“As always with these games, you never know what team the opposition are going to put out so we will be as well prepared as we can.

“But it’s important we plan on what we want to do and that the players’ mentality is right to back up last week’s impressive performance.

“We played Peterborough at Wimborne in August and there is a really nice feel to the environment there.

“We would like to have as many supporters there as possible as it makes the whole experience much more enjoyable for the boys.”

Charlton compete alongside the Cherries in Group South of the Professional Development League and have taken five points from their first five games, placing them ninth.

Connell’s team are currently sixth, having beaten Coventry City and Peterborough United and drawn with Sheffield Wednesday.


The Professional Development League comprises two divisions – Group North and Group South.

Alan Connell’s team have faced five of the 11 clubs in Group North, beating Coventry and Peterborough, drawing with Sheffield Wednesday and losing against Barnsley and Hull.

They play teams in Group North either home or away and will meet the other six teams – Burnley, Sheffield United, Wigan, Fleetwood, Birmingham and Crewe – in their final six games of the season.

The visit of Charlton on Tuesday is the Cherries’ first game against Group South opposition. There are ten teams in Group South and they play each other home and away.

The top two in each division qualify for the end-of-season play-off semi-finals before the respective winners meet in a final.

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