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Bournemouth squad suffering with virus ahead of Chelsea clash

Bournemouth squad suffering with virus ahead of Chelsea clash

Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil has indicated that many of his squad are fitness doubts ahead of next week’s Premier League fixture with Chelsea.

On the back of being appointed as boss on a permanent basis, O’Neil would have been hoping for a positive start to a longer stint in the dugout.

However, the Cherries succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle United in the EFL Cup fourth round earlier this week, ending a run of two successive victories.

Despite that disappointment, O’Neil spoke with a sense of pride after the match after revealing that up to 10 players were unable to make the trip to the North-East.

Newcastle United's Kieran Trippier and teammates celebrate after AFC Bournemouth's Adam Smith scores an own goal on December 20, 2022© Reuters

Speaking to reporters after the game, the Englishman said: “We’ve had a tough week, we lost 8 to 10 players through a virus.

“Everyone that was fit and available was here so we were a bit short. The boys that played and the boys that were here were excellent.

“I named my starting XI twice and had to change it. It was a tricky week for us but it happens and the important thing is how we respond.”

With the fixture versus the Magpies taking place a week before the trip to Stamford Bridge on December 27, O’Neil will be hopeful that at least some of his senior players will be able to come back into contention.

Bournemouth celebrate scoring against Everton in the EFL Cup on November 8, 2022.© Reuters

While some players were said to be suffering with minor injuries, Ben Pearson and Joe Rothwell are among the players who have been ill.

As it stands, Bournemouth sit in 14th position in the Premier League standings, three points above the relegation zone, but they are also the same distance adrift of ninth place.

Nevertheless, with the showdown with Chelsea taking place a day after Boxing Day, Bournemouth will find themselves closer to the drop zone come kickoff in West London.

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