(Reuters) - Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe hailed the return of Benik Afobe to the squad as a “massive boost” ahead of their trip to relegation-threatened Hull City on Saturday.
The 23-year-old striker, who has scored in his last appearance for the Cherries during a 3-0 win over Swansea, has pulled out of the Africa Cup of Nations to stay at the Vitality Stadium despite recently switching his allegiance from England to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“That’s a big boost for us. He’s in good form and the way he led the line at Swansea was impressive,” Howe told in a news conference on Friday.
“We now have good competition in the striking positions and that’s what we want; we have some good players going forwards at this club.”
Howe goes head-to-head with newly-appointed Hull manager Marco Silva, who will oversee his first Premier League game at the KCOM Stadium.
The 39-year-old English manager said that his squad is prepared for the challenge after having watched the footage of his Portuguese counterpart’s work at previous clubs.
“That was one of the first things we did, to see how his teams have played historically, though it could be different now,” he added.
“We’re sort of going into the unknown so we’ve prepared ourselves properly and if we apply ourselves as we know we can then we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”
Bournemouth, currently sitting ninth in the league, have only won twice on the road this season, while Hull have failed to register a single victory since early November.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Chopra