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First team

Team news: Howe on Lerma's availability

Training 09-08-18 - 07.JPG

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Eddie Howe says that record signing Jefferson Lerma will not be making his AFC Bournemouth debut against Cardiff City on Saturday.

The Colombia international joined from Levante on Tuesday, but after playing four games for his country at this summer's World Cup Howe revealed the midfielder is not yet ready to break into the side.

"Jefferson is not being considered at this stage," he said at his pre-match press conference.

"There will be other players involved in the World Cup who won't play this weekend. We need to make sure that when Jefferson steps on the pitch he's absolutely ready to perform at the top level.

"He's had one training session with us and has come to us on the back of not training after the World Cup, so we'll need his build his fitness up as he acclimatises with the squad. 

"There may be a period of time where fans don't see him but he's one we're very much looking forward to having here with us."

Nathan Ake, who was substituted early in last weekend's Marseille win, has trained this week, with Howe mentioning the players who will miss out on the season opener. 

He said: "Junior Stanislas and Kyle Taylor are currently out, but I think we've got the strongest squad we've ever had since coming into the Premier League.

"We anticipate Junior being about a month away, tough we don't want to be too rigid in that time frame, Taylor is missing with a  muscle problem and Diego Rico is suspended."

Harry Arter moved on loan to Saturday's rivals on deadline day, but isn't eligible to play in Saturday's game, and Howe spoke of the decision to let the midfielder move away from the club.

"It was very difficult," he said. "Harry's journey optimises that of the club, where he came from working his way up the leagues in an impressive way with the will and desire to succeed. I can't speak highly enough of him.

"The difficulty was that he wanted to play and we felt that we needed to keep him playing. With that in mind we reluctantly agreed to let him go."

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