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First Team

Team news: Kerkez starts against City


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Milos Kerkez returns to the AFC Bournemouth starting line-up for today’s game with Premier League champions Manchester City at Vitality Stadium.

The Hungary international replaces Lloyd Kelly as Cherries head coach Andoni Iraola makes one change following last week’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle.

Kerkez has made four substitute appearances since recovering from a foot injuiry which sidelined him for around seven weeks.

His last start came during the Cherries’ memorable 3-0 win against Manchester United at Old Trafford at the start of December.

Recent loan signing Enes Ünal, who was on the books at Manchester City between 2015 and 2017, is named among the Cherries substitutes, as is Romain Faivre having recovered from illness.

Erling Haaland, one of only two players above Dom Solanke in the Premier League top goalscorers’ chart, again leads the line for City.

Solanke needs two more goals in the top flight to match Joshua King’s tally of 16, the Cherries’ highest in a season in the Premier League.

Following defeat by City at the Etihad in November, the Cherries embarked on a seven-match unbeaten run in the Premier League, the sequence including no fewer than six wins.

Iraola’s team beat Newcastle, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace, Manchester United, Nottingham Forest and Fulham, as well as drawing with Aston Villa to propel themselves up the table.

Philip Billing serves the final game of a three-match suspension following his red card in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest earlier this month.

AFC Bournemouth: Neto, Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kerkez, Christie, Cook, Semenyo, Kluivert, Tavernier, Solanke.

Subs: Travers (g/k), Radu (g/k), Mepham, Kinsey, Scott, Faivre, Sinisterra, Ouattara, Ünal.

Manchester City: Ederson, Dias, Stones, Aké, Kovačić, Haaland, Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Akanji, Nunes, Foden.

Subs: Ortega (g/k), Walker, Grealish, Doku, De Bruyne, Álvarez, Gómez, Bobb, Lewis.

Referee: Jarred Gillett.

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