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Cherries: Howe to address Stockley situation
CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe is hoping teenage striker Jayden Stockley will realise his rich potential after promoting him back to the first-team ranks.
Stockley, who had been a member of a newly-formed development group under previous manager Paul Groves, spent this week training with Howe’s squad.
Poole-born Stockley was fast-tracked by Howe into the first-team environment when he was just 16 – a decision Groves said he felt may have hampered his progress.
Stockley was thrown in at the deep end due to a crippling injury crisis and an ongoing transfer embargo and became the second youngest player to play for the club when he made his Football League debut in October 2009 – a month after his 16th birthday.
He was handed a five-year contract by Howe in November 2009 and then rewarded further by ex-boss Lee Bradbury with an improved three-year deal in the summer of 2011.
Stockley was used sparingly by Bradbury last season and also spent two months on loan with Accrington Stanley in League Two. However, he did not feature at all under Groves.
Howe, who unearthed Stockley during his time working in the Cherries youth ranks in 2008, told the Daily Echo: “Jayden is someone who I have always liked and someone I thought could develop into a good player.
“I would need to find out the reasons and see where he is in terms of why he hasn’t quite developed as we thought he would.
“That doesn’t mean he can’t and he is still young enough to have a good career in the game so we really need to get a handle on where he is.
“We haven’t seen him play yet. He has been training this week and has done well in the sessions so we will just take it from there.”
Howe is expected to carry out an assessment of the development squad as part of his review of the overall playing resources available to him.
He added: “I need to see where the lads are in terms of how much they have progressed. We would love all the development players, if you can call them that, to train with the first team. The problem is you can’t have 30 to 40 players training in one session so you have to make some difficult decisions in terms of numbers.”
Meanwhile, Howe is also expected to look at players’ contracts, especially those whose current deals are close to expiring.
Winger Marc Pugh, signed by Howe from Hereford in 2009, is out of contract in the summer after rejecting the club’s offer of a new deal.
Asked specifically about Pugh, Howe replied: “Marc is someone we have always admired. We need to get to grips with his contractual situation because it is something we have fallen into. We are going to have to pick it up quite quickly and see where we go with it. If we can get Marc playing at his best, he is as good as anyone in the division.”