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Development Squad

Gulls loan a great experience for Archie


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Archie Harris will embark on a redemption mission when he returns to the scene of a distressing chapter in his fledgling career.

The AFC Bournemouth development squad defender is set to line up in the quarter-final of the Servio Hampshire Men’s Senior Cup against Folland Sports on Wednesday (7.45pm kick-off).

Harris dislocated his knee on his previous visit to the Arrow Arena when the Cherries triumphed 5-0 against the Planemakers in the second round of the competition last season.

He was in agony as he was stretchered off by the club’s medical staff, the incident leaving Harris facing an uncertain future at the start of his second year as a scholar.

However, despite spending large parts of his scholarship sidelined due to injury, Harris was rewarded for his progress when he was elevated to the development squad ahead of 2023/24.

Speaking to afcb.co.uk, Harris said: “I remember the game well. I dislocated my knee, which was a horrible experience and it put me back a couple of months.

“I guess it will be a case of redemption when I go back there. The venue has bad memories for me but I will just try to block it out of my mind and play my game.

“Although my personal memories aren’t great, we got the win that night and that was the most important thing. I’m back now and I’m stronger than ever.

“I’m ready to give it my all in the game on Wednesday and we will go back there and try to win again.

“We know they will try to get on top of us but I think we’re good enough to deal with that and then get the ball down and play when we can.

“We know they beat a young Portsmouth team in the previous round so we won’t underestimate them. We never underestimate any opposition.”

Harris this week returned from a successful loan spell with Torquay United where he made eight appearances in National League South and three in the FA Trophy, working under vastly-experienced manager Gary Johnson at Plainmoor.

He said: “Playing at that level at a young age under a different manager and learning from a lot of players was a really good experience for me. You learn how to deal with different types of threats.

“Gary was really good with me and almost just let me let me do my own thing. Their playing style suited my game quite a lot so it gave me freedom to play how I wanted to.

“Torquay play some decent stuff and we’re a ball playing team here as well so it was good. I also got to see a bit more of the physical side which will stand me in good stead for the future.”

Harris played his part as Alan Connell’s team completed their Premier League Cup group campaign with a 1-0 win over Norwich City at New Cuthbury on Saturday.

Victory, which set up a last-16 encounter with Leeds United, saw the Cherries finish as group winners with an unbeaten record for the first time in the competition.

Balraj Landa netted the only goal as Connell’s team finished with 16 points from six games, the joint highest in the 32-team competition along with Group D winners Chelsea.

Harris said: “To finish unbeaten after playing the other three teams home and away was a great achievement. There were two category one teams in our group and Charlton are a really good category two team.

“We are playing another very good team in Leeds in the last 16 and we know the club has never got past the knockout stage so it would be a great honour to do that.

“Leeds will be a good challenge, another category one side. But at home, when we play our game, we think we can beat anyone. We will give it our all and see what happens.”

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