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First team

TEAM NEWS: Francis and Kelly nearing returns

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Injury duo Simon Francis and Lloyd Kelly are working their way back to full fitness ahead of the Southampton clash this Friday.

They both played 61 minutes of football on Tuesday night in their first appearances back since their respective injuries.

The pair featured in the under-21’s victory over Basingstoke Town in the Hampshire Senior Cup, where Kelly managed to bag two assists and a goal on his first start back.

Summer signing Arnaut Danjuma is back on the grass training but not expected to return yet, meanwhile Brooks and Gosling are working towards recovery.

Eddie Howe commented in his pre-match press conference saying: “We’re pretty much in the same place but added by the returns of Francis and Kelly in the week, it’s great to see them back after so long. The squad is getting stronger."

Howe believes that Lewis Cook would be in contention to be named apart of the England squad.

Lewis Cook made his return from injury last week in a 3-1 victory over Everton after being side-lined since December with a knee injury.

Boss Howe added: “He’s a very important player someone we really like as a player and a person all the way through his rehab. From this injury he was very focused and driven to get back to his very best.

“When you see someone with that mind set you only want good for them and Sunday was a really nice moment for him. He’s come back in really good shape and I’m delighted for him.

“Before injury he was right amongst the England squad, he’s very highly thought of and if he stays fit then he has every chance of competing In the England squad over the next year."

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