AFC Bournemouth manager Jason Tindall anticipates having Lewis Cook available for the visit of Championship leaders Reading tomorrow (12.30pm kick-off).
The midfielder was forced off and required stitches after sustaining a deep gash to his shin during the Cherries’ 3-1 win against Birmingham ahead of the international break.
But despite initially sitting out training for the first few days of last week, the 23-year-old joined in with Tindall’s squad at the start of this week and has had no adverse reaction.
Tindall will also welcome back influential skipper Steve Cook who missed the Birmingham victory due to a one-match suspension.
As reported earlier today, Joshua King will not be involved having tested positive for Covid-19 following international duty with Norway. The striker is currently self-isolating. Click here to see a club statement.
Asked at today’s pre-match press conference about the two Cooks, Tindall said: “Lewis has been good. He missed the early part of the week after the Birmingham game so didn’t train for a few days.
“But he’s had some good training days under his belt and came through with no problems so will be available for selection.
“Steve has trained every day during the international break and has trained well. I’ve been really pleased with his performances so far this season and he will also be in contention for tomorrow.”
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With the exception of King, Tindall was asked whether his internationals had returned with a clean bill of health.
He said: “Thankfully, everybody came back fine. It is disappointing to have a player of Josh’s quality unavailable but, other than that, everybody came back fine and got some minutes while away with their respective countries.”
Asked about the table-topping Royals, Tindall said: “After watching quite a few of their games, I’m not surprised they are top of the table because they are a very good side. They’ve got some very good individual players and are a dangerous side.
“I can see why they are top of the league. I know they have slipped up in the past few games and not got the results that they wanted but they are a good side and we’ve got to respect them.
“We’ve had some really tough games against Reading over the years and I’m expecting this one to be the same.”
With the clash kicking off at lunchtime, victory would see the Cherries leapfrog Reading and Tindall was asked about the prospect of going top.
“It would be great,” he said. “Every club in every division wants to be top of the league and we’ve got that opportunity.
“If we beat Reading, we would go a point above them and go top, for how long that may be then who knows. But that’s certainly going to be our aim going into the game.
“We’re going into the game to try to deliver another winning performance. It was a very pleasing performance against Birmingham but now it’s about backing that up.”
Tindall was also asked about the new rules which allows clubs to use five substitutes in a game: “I think it’s a good thing.
“It opens up two new places on the bench where teams can potentially blood young players and bring them through. That’s only going to be a positive thing moving forward.
“For me as a manager, it’s a good thing, certainly with the schedule we’ve got coming up. If you’re able to make two extra changes and protect some players physically then that can only be a good thing.
“It won’t affect anything in terms of how we prepare for a game, it just means we’ll have extra bodies on the bench.”