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Cherries: Howe pondering a defensive loan recruit
Howe has admitted a lack of cover at full-back has been “an area of concern for a while” with injury to Charlie Daniels exacerbating the situation recently.
Daniels has missed Cherries’ past three games due to a persistent foot problem with new signing Matt Ritchie making his home debut at left-back during Saturday’s win over Portsmouth.
And while Ritchie, who prefers to play on the wing, proved an able deputy against Pompey, boss Howe is likely to draft in cover should Daniels be sidelined long term.
Daniels, a key performer in Cherries’ revival under Howe, had been playing through the pain barrier since taking a blow to his right foot during the FA Cup clash at Wigan last month.
And although an initial scan revealed the Londoner had not sustained any serious damage, Daniels is still feeling some discomfort and has been unable to hit the comeback trail.
Speaking to the Daily Echo following Cherries’ win over Pompey, Howe said: “We are waiting to see how Charlie settles down over the weekend before re-assessing him on Monday. We haven’t been able to push him on with his rehab so are a little concerned about him at the moment.”
Asked whether he would consider delving into the loan market should Daniels prove to be weeks rather than days, Howe replied: “Yes, I think we would look to do something but it is not definite.
“It has been an area of concern for a while in terms of our full-back cover even when we had both full-backs fit. We are fortunate to have brought in Matt Ritchie and he is able to play there. But I think we would need a recognised left-back if Charlie were to be out long term.
“I thought Matt was excellent, both with and without the ball. To come to a new club and play out of position is not easy but he has done it with no problems. He has accepted it and is a real team player. That is really pleasing for the future, regardless of where he plays.”
Howe, meanwhile, had encouraging news to report on skipper Tommy Elphick, who was ruled out against Pompey after sustaining a knee injury when he was caught by Ryan Lowe’s horror tackle at MK Dons.
Although Howe said Elphick had been “nowhere near” being available to face Pompey, the Cherries boss revealed the linchpin central defender may be in contention for tomorrow’s trip to Crewe.
Howe said: “His knee was sore and, when he tried running on Thursday, it just didn’t feel right when he was twisting and turning. He has settled down in the past couple of days and has improved so we will try to get him ready for Tuesday.”
- Cherries will host Southern League Premier Division outfit AFC Totton in the semi-final of the Hampshire Senior Cup next month.