Monday 5 December 2016

Eddie Howe unsure about whether to involve Lewis Grabban against former team

Published 15/01/2016 | 13:46

Striker Lewis Grabban has rejoined Bournemouth from Norwich, and could face his old club on Saturday
Striker Lewis Grabban has rejoined Bournemouth from Norwich, and could face his old club on Saturday

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has yet to decide whether to unleash striker Lewis Grabban against his old club Norwich at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

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The 28-year-old rejoined the Cherries in an £ 8million deal earlier this week, having left in June 2014, and came off the bench during the second half of the 3-1 home defeat by West Ham on Tuesday night.

Given the player's lack of first-team football this season - having fallen out of favour at Carrow Road after being unable to move during the last transfer window - Grabban may have to wait for a chance to show Norwich manager Alex Neil what he can do against players he was training with just last week.

Howe said: "It goes without saying we like Lewis a lot, from his previous spell here, he knows what we want and we know him, that is really important when you have a short period of the season left.

"He has not had a lot of football in the past few months, so that plays a part in our thinking, how match fit is he? So we will make a decision on that.

"I don't think any player has to pull me to say they are desperate to start, because that is a given with anyone in my squad."

Howe i s confident Bournemouth's new signings are made of the right stuff to help keep the club in the Barclays Premier League.

The Cherries have been busy in the January transfer window. As well as Grabban, they have recruited Roma forward Juan Iturbe on loan and paid a record £12million fee for Benik Afobe.

"It is early days, but all three of our new players are really good characters," Howe said at a press conference.

"Lewis knows us from having worked with us before, so there are no issues with him, he can acclimatise very quickly because he knows the majority of the players anyway.

"Benik is a good character and young player again, so there is no problem with him fitting in.

"Juan has been popular within the group, although doesn't speak the language let, but always has a smile on his face, so all the new players have fitted in very well off the pitch."

Howe added: "It is nice to have done some early business, but it is all relative because we lost players earlier in the season and so we are really just trying to replace those numbers, to make sure we have enough strength in depth to attack the second half of the season."

Bournemouth are 16th, a place and two points below Norwich.

"A win would be really important for us. Our home form has been patchy so we want to start a consistent run," said Howe, who could be without midfielder Matt Ritchie because of a dead leg.

"We know the importance of the games in this month, all we can do is give our best to achieve what we want to."

Press Association

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