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First team

Trio have 'definitely improved' says boss


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said Junior Stanislas, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith had all made progress with their respective recoveries from injury during the international break.

Howe confirmed the trio would continue to be monitored ahead of the Cherries’ Premier League clash with Leicester at King Power Stadium tomorrow (3pm).

Smith missed the 2-2 draw with Newcastle earlier this month after sustaining a hamstring injury in the Cherries’ 2-0 victory at Huddersfield on March 9th.

Stanislas has been sidelined for the past six games due a hip flexor problem, while Gosling has sat out the past three games as he tries to shake off a minor knee complaint.

Asked for an injury roll call at his pre-match press conference this morning, Howe said: “We’ve still got a few injury worries.

“We’ve used the two-week break to try to progress players back to fitness so Junior Stanislas, Dan Gosling and Adam Smith have all trained. We will see whether they are involved but they have definitely improved.”

However, Howe confirmed Steve Cook would remain on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from a groin injury.

“Steve Cook is slightly further behind,” said Howe. “He is waiting for the all-clear from a specialist to start pushing his physical levels again. At the moment, he hasn’t been doing too much.”

With Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman set to miss the rest of the season, Howe was asked whether other players might sense an opportunity in the middle of park.

He replied: “I think I’ve seen that throughout the season. Players have had opportunities and that’s been one of the beauties.

“Nobody wants to see anyone get injured and certainly not me. We’ve had more than we’ve ever wanted this season but it has meant more game time for other players and we’ve had some really good responses to that.

“We are limited within our central-midfield options but some younger guys are really pushing hard. Kyle Taylor and Emerson Hyndman are doing really well so pleased with their progression.”

With seven games remaining, 12th-placed Cherries are currently 10 points clear of the drop zone.

Asked whether he had stopped looking over his shoulder, Howe replied: “I don’t think we’ve ever really had the mindset that we’re looking over our shoulder.

“We’ve always tried to look upwards and tried to achieve. We’ve had different spells throughout the season – good and bad spells.

“But every point is huge and we’re desperately trying to still achieve this season while acknowledging the fact that I don’t think we’re safe yet and we’ve still got more work to do.”

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