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Howe: Lewis Cook return will be big boost for Bournemouth

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe hopes it will not be long before midfielder Lewis Cook makes a welcome return to action.

The 22-year-old is in the final stages of rehabilitation from the serious knee injury he suffered last season.

Cook has returned to training at Bournemouth having spent some time working in America with a specialist.

Howe, though, will not rush the England international back into first-team contention, as he prepares the squad for Sunday’s visit of Premier League champions Manchester City.

“Lewis won’t be ready for this game but he is getting closer all the time,” Howe said at a press conference.

“He trained with us for the first time fully a couple of days ago, and it will be a big boost for us when we get him fully fit.

“He would need more training sessions and, of course, a couple of games but hopefully he is getting closer.”

Howe knows the club’s treatment room is still overcrowded, with Dutch forward Arnaut Danjuma and defender Lloyd Kelly among those still recovering, along with Dan Gosling, David Brooks, Simon Francis and Junior Stanislas.

“You have to adapt and overcome the situation we are in,” the Bournemouth boss said.

“We have a slight hangover from last season and the players who had long-term injuries and during pre-season we picked up a few more.

“We are where we are. We are still trying to nurse players back, but without putting too much pressure on them to boost the squad.

“We have got versatile players in the squad which helps, but the key thing is from here on we can’t suffer too many more injuries, because if we do then we are going to be really stretched.”

Howe accepts whatever team he is able to put out at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday will need to produce the required performance levels against City.

“We know if we perform at our very best we have got a chance of beating anybody, that has been the story of our Premier League journey,” he said.

“We have had to play very well to get anything from the top teams and they may well have had to dip below their high standards for that to happen.

“But we are competitive. When we are very good, especially here in front of our home crowd, I think we can bounce off each other and the players really respond.

“Hopefully it will be a really good atmosphere and we can perform at our very best.”

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