Written by Ross Millen (@RossMillen)
AFC Bournemouth are set to face Arsenal away from home tomorrow evening and look to claim their first win in four games.
However, the injury crisis in the squad has worsened with Steve Cook missing the clash with Wolves on Saturday and Jefferson Lerma now having to serve a two-match suspension.
When questioned about Cook’s setback, Cherries manager Eddie Howe said: “He has had a longstanding groin problem now for a couple of months. He has had moments where it’s been better than other moments, but in the build-up to the game it was just too much.
“He was devastated to miss out. He’s been such a model of consistency, it was a real blow to lose him, he’s a big miss to our team.”
This joins the likes of Callum Wilson, David Brooks and Junior Stanislas who are also currently out with injuries.
Howe added: “Callum and David are improving, we haven’t seen them in training yet so they’re a bit too far off for this game. Junior will be out.
The Bournemouth boss also stressed the importance of not rushing Wilson back into the side: “Of course you’re very keen to get him back, but he’s got to be right at the same time, he’s got to perform for the team.”
The game against Arsenal is the final away game against the ‘top six’ this season, in which the Cherries have failed to win any of those matches so far.
Reflecting back on those previous games, Howe said: “I feel we’ve been slightly under par but maybe slightly unfortunate not to get something from those games.
“They are incredibly difficult, I think when you go away from home you’ve got to get everything together within your game and you’ve got to maximise every chance you get at the other end.
“We possibly haven’t done that this season, tomorrow’s an opportunity to change that.”
Despite mixed fortunes this season, Bournemouth appear set to secure another mid-table finish. However, Howe admitted he believed his side could still be dragged into a relegation scrap:
“It’s very dangerous to make those assumptions, we have to get more points otherwise we’ll get dragged into the bottom end of the table.
“If we get more points we can look upwards but it’s very much in our hands and we’ve got to try to maximise those chances to get points.”
Bournemouth travel to the Emirates Stadium tomorrow evening (7:45pm).