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First team

Brad Smith fit and raring to go

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The Australian full-back Brad Smith played 65 minutes and felt good in his return from injury against Valencia.

The 23-year-old missed parts of pre-season after suffering a hamstring injury on duty with the Socceroos - an injury that also kept Smith out of the Confederations Cup.

After completing his rehab, Smith got his first minutes of pre-season in the 1-0 defeat to Los Che at Vitality Stadium.

"It was good for me to get my first 65 minutes or so in pre-season," he told afcbTV after the game. "I came back and did rehab in the summer and then went out to Marbella with the squad.

"I felt it again a little bit out there so I was out for another two weeks and that's why I missed the first couple of pre-season games.

"After this game - it was tough - so it must be alright, I didn't feel it again so I'm happy.

"I thought I did well, it was a tough first game to come into but I felt good, my hamstrings felt good. The team worked well, me and Pughie (Marc Pugh) linked up well together."

Smith remains in competition with Charlie Daniels for the left-back spot in the Cherries' team that starts its campaign at West Brom in under a fortnight, with the Australia international confident that the two players spurs each other on to be better.

"I need to work hard every day, me and Chaz are mates off and on the pitch and he helps me a lot," he said.

"We work well together, we push each other on and hopefully make each other better players."

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