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First Team

Team news: Cook and Pearson both 50-50


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Key duo Steve Cook and Ben Pearson are both rated as 50-50 to be fit to play in the Championship play-off semi-final at Brentford on Saturday.

The Cherries head to the capital with a tight 1-0 lead following their win over the Bees at Vitality Stadium on Monday.

Captain Cook was replaced before half time through injury, while Pearson also left the action early with 20 minutes remaining and is uncertain to appear at the Brentford Community Stadium.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Jonathan Woodgate gave the latest injury news from his squad.

He said: "Steve Cook is 50-50 for the game, so is Ben Pearson, Junior Stanislas isn't quite ready yet and Lewis Cook is still out long term.

"Let's see with Ben and with Steve, let's see how they are.

"He's an important player like any other player, he's the leader, he's the captain but we'd have an equally good replacement coming in with Chris Mepham, a Wales international.

"He was really good when he came on against Brentford, in the second half I thought he was fantastic. It would be a loss injury wise but Meps is a really top player for us."

With an advantage, but only a very fine one, against Thomas Frank's very dangerous Bees side, Woodgate spoke about the mindframe his side will have as they get started in the 12.30pm kick-off in west London.

"The mentality is to try and win the game," he said. "We don't want to sit back and try and soak the pressure up, that's not us or how we play.

"We know they're going to come out and try to win the game, I've heard Thomas Frank say after the game that they think they can win the game and maybe think we're a bit scared but let's see how the game unfolds.

"They'll have 4,000 fans there, so it's going to be a big game and I'm really looking forward to it."

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