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First team

Kelly closing in on return

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Boss Eddie Howe hinted at the possibility of Lloyd Kelly being in contention for AFC Bournemouth’s clash with runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool tomorrow.

Kelly has been sidelined for much of the 2019/20 campaign after being troubled by unrelated ankle and thigh injuries since his summer move from Bristol City.

But the 21-year-old defender, who started the Carabao Cup defeat at Burton Albion in September, trained fully with Howe’s squad this week and could join the travelling party to Anfield (12.30pm kick-off).

Howe confirmed Kelly had come through several sessions with the rest of the squad and described his return as "great news", adding it had given everybody a “big lift”.

Meanwhile, Howe also said long-term injury victims David Brooks, Arnaut Danjuma and Chris Mepham had yet to train with the first-team group but were making progress.

“They still haven’t trained with us but they are working hard in their respective rehabs and are getting closer,” said Howe.

Asked specifically about Brooks, Howe said: "He is building his fitness and endurance levels and his ankle is feeling okay.

"I hope he can be integrated into training quite quickly from this point.

"But when you consider the length of time he’s been out and the fact he hasn’t trained with the group and hasn’t had any games as such, there is still a little bit of work to do with him."

Loan star Harry Wilson is ineligible to feature against his parent club due to Premier League rules.

Howe said: “It’s a blow for us because Harry has been excellent for us this season. But when you take a loan player, you know it’s going to happen.”

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