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Cherries: Fletcher backs Stockley to push squad on loan return
Stockley linked up with the Conference Premier outfit on loan last month and will remain at the Kingfield Stadium until January 5.
The 19-year-old striker was thrust into the limelight when he made his debut as a 16-year-old against Northampton Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2009.
He then scored three goals during a fruitful 10-game loan spell at Accrington Stanley last year, but was surprisingly placed in the club’s new development squad under former boss Paul Groves, before being promoted back into the first-team ranks following Howe’s return in October.
Howe had already urged the promising teenager to make the most of his time with the Cards and the Poole-born frontman responded in style by netting twice in the Surrey side’s 7-0 FA Trophy demolition of Farnborough.
Fletcher, who played in the Conference for Crawley in 2008-2009, told the Echo: “Jayden went to Accrington and came back a different player. Now he has gone to Woking and has banged in a couple of goals already and he will come back a better player again.
“He is still only 19 and, because he has been around for so long, people see him as an established professional when, actually, he is still in the early stages of his career.
“Playing at places like Woking will stand him in good stead for the future and dropping down a couple of leagues will toughen him up as well, because you get kicked from pillar to post in the Conference – no matter how big you are.
“Jayden is a big lad, as big as me in stature, but it will be good for him and I would expect him to come back to Bournemouth and be pushing for a place in our squad.”
Stockley was handed a five-year contract by Howe in November 2009, before penning an improved three-year deal under Lee Bradbury during the summer of 2011.
Despite his promise, though, Stockley has found himself down the pecking order behind the club’s burgeoning striking resources.
The likes of Brett Pitman, Frank Demouge, Matt Tubbs, Lewis Grabban, Lee Barnard and Fletcher are all battling for starting places, while Charlie Sheringham (injured) and Wes Thomas (on loan to Blackpool) are also on the books.
Fletcher added: “Jayden is confident and believes in his own ability. Some days he is unplayable in training and our lads talk about how good he is all the time.
“He has everything and he is certainly one for the future.
“It’s now just a case of nurturing the talent he has and I’m sure he can go on to become a big player for Bournemouth in the future.”
Cherries meet Southern League Division One Central outfit Fleet Town in the third round of the Hampshire Senior Cup this evening (7.45pm).
The tie will be staged at New Milton’s Fawcett’s Field ground and boss Eddie Howe is expected to name a line-up featuring players from the club’s development squad and youth team.