Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe confirms Jermain Defoe will get Carabao Cup chance
Eddie Howe will use the Carabao Cup to test the fitness of Jermain Defoe as he attempts to resolve Bournemouth's early-season goalscoring problems.
The Cherries have suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League and failed to find the back of the net in both of those games, including Saturday's 2-0 loss to Watford.
England international Defoe, recruited from Sunderland in the summer, has made two substitute appearances to date, and manager Howe plans to assess him against Birmingham in midweek to find out if he is ready to start a league match.
Confirming that the veteran striker will be in his line-up for the second-round tie at St Andrew's, Howe said: "We just don't think he's where he needs to be fitness-wise, so he needs some more work and he will get an opportunity on Tuesday.
"I think starting a game is always a good indicator, we'll have a look.
"It was difficult to get him into the game (against Watford) so hopefully Tuesday will be different."
Defoe is back on the south coast, 16 years on from the fruitful loan spell which kick-started his career.
He has so far had to remain patient as he attempts to rediscover the sharpness which saw him hit 15 goals for Sunderland last campaign, with Benik Afobe and Joshua King given the nod in the Cherries' attack against West Brom and Watford.
Asked if the 34-year-old is having any issues adapting to Bournemouth's style of play, Howe said: "It's too early to tell that.
"It's been two little cameos for him so I don't think that will be a problem."
Bournemouth were well beaten at home by Watford at the weekend.
A maiden Hornets goal for Brazilian winger Richarlison followed by a superb half-volley from substitute Etienne Capoue proved decisive at the Vitality Stadium.
Watford manager Marco Silva believes it is vital for his players to develop a strong rapport with the Vicarage Road faithful in order for the club to enjoy a successful campaign.
"It's the most important thing in football. I said we need to create something special between them and our fans," he said.
"For it to happen, they (the supporters) need to feel something special on the pitch.
"We can lose, we can draw, we can win but they need to feel we give every time 100 per cent."
Despite Saturday's convincing win and taking four points from two games, Silva hopes to strengthen his squad before the end of the transfer window.
"The board will work hard until the end of the market to give to me what I think I need," he said.