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Gary O’Neil’s focus is on Newcastle match, not takeover at Bournemouth

Nottingham Forest v AFC Bournemouth – Premier League – The City Ground
(Image credit: Scott Wilson)

Bournemouth caretaker manager Gary O’Neil maintains his focus is only on the next game amid speculation around a possible takeover.

The PA news agency understands a Las Vegas-led consortium is pushing to buy the club, who returned to the Premier League again this season after two years out of the top flight.

Cherries owner Maxim Demin, the sole shareholder at Bournemouth since 2019, is thought to be weighing up whether to sell, with US investors ready to pay £150million to take control at the Vitality Stadium.

O’Neil was handed first team duties when Scott Parker was sacked after just four Premier League matches, culminating in a 9-0 defeat at Liverpool.

Having steadied the ship with a goalless draw against Wolves, O’Neil presided over a 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest, where they had trailed 2-0 at half-time.

Bournemouth travel to Newcastle on Saturday for a reunion with former boss Eddie Howe – which O’Neil insists is all he has been thinking about.

“Obviously I am not involved in any discussions like that (takeover). I have been hard at work over on the other side, on the grass,” O’Neil said.

“I haven’t considered anything around takeovers, discussions upstairs, my position, whatever that is, it is.

“My wife and kids will tell you, every minute of my day so far since that (postponed Brighton game) is Newcastle, either on a laptop or on the grass with the lads.

“Pure focus on how we go there, have an impact on the game and come away with a positive result again.”

O’Neil told a press conference: “Newcastle are a very good side.

“Every game I have watched, they have been on the front foot, aggressive and caused teams problems, so probably should have more points than they have. I would expect them to be high up the league this year.”

O’Neil feels his players can produced the required performance level after looking to move forwards following their Anfield nightmare.

“I’ve spoken about the qualities of the squad a lot and you have no choice but to bounce back,” he said. “Once again, I have full belief in what they are going to show me on Saturday.

“For any team to have any success, they have a real togetherness and want to achieve something.

“Last year’s promotion was tough at times and the group came through all the scrapes. People might have been asking questions and then the squad go to Huddersfield and beat Forest, show up for big games in high-pressure situations. It is how they are, they are an incredible group.”

Midfielder David Brooks has suffered a setback when playing for the under-21s as he continues his recovery from cancer.

“He had some pain in his hamstring, which is initially disappointing for him. Having said that, it’s not unusual for any player who has been off grass long-term,” O’Neil said.

“When players come back, there’s always a spell where they need to get their body used to being on the grass. They have to adapt to the stresses of playing football every day.

“I am not surprised that it’s happened, but I am disappointed for him. We were never going to rush him back, so we’ll see how he is in the coming weeks.”

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