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First Team

Team news: Smith Back, Ake Close


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Adam Smith returns for the final match of the season at Everton, while fellow defender Nathan Ake is close to being ready for the weekend's match.

The Premier League campaign ends for AFC Bournemouth at Goodison Park with a 4pm kick-off on Sunday, with the visitors needing to win to have any chance of retaining their top-flight status.

Full-back Smith hasn’t featured since suffering a head injury in the draw with Tottenham earlier this month but is fit for the trip to Merseyside, according to manager Eddie Howe.

“Adam Smith should be fit after his concussion, apart from that we’ve got a few knocks and niggles but nothing major to reveal,” said Howe in his pre-match press conference.

Ake picked up a groin injury during the win over Leicester, with Howe commenting on the touch-and-go nature of his availability.

“Nathan’s a big part of our squad, whether he’s fit for the game we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.

“He’s got a very minor groin problem, so we’ll wait and see whether he’s available, that’s still undecided.

“Whether he’s fit enough to play from the injury side and also from the fact that he hasn’t trained or really done anything between the injury and now, we’ll make a very late call on him.”

With Bournemouth requiring results to go their way even with a win at Goodison Park, Howe spoke of the frantic culmination of the Championship season earlier this week as evidence of the changes that can occur on the final day.

“The Championship showed just why everyone loves the game, that’s the end of the season, a long season, and you saw so many swings and different emotions,” he commented.

“You saw some teams celebrating, some teams collapsed on the pitch in disappointment, and I think that’s a great thing for us to see before this weekend because you never know.

“The only thing we can do is control what we do. We’ve got to try and win a game of football and then hope other results fall our way.

“There is a belief that we can win our game and that’s what we have to do. It’s easier said than done, our away form has not been good for some time.

“A lot of those away games we’ve lost very narrowly, some games we look back on with huge frustration because we should have got more points that we have. For whatever reason we’ve ended up just on the wrong side of it for a lot of those games.

“We have to go to Everton and try and do our bit first, and then who knows? That’s where the unpredictability of football comes in, you’re hoping we get the little bit of luck that we need.”

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