November 23, 2018 / 11:21 AM / 19 days ago

Bournemouth's King faces fitness test ahead of Arsenal game

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - AFC Bournemouth v Southampton - Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth, Britain - October 20, 2018 Bournemouth's Joshua King in action with Southampton's Mario Lemina REUTERS/Eddie Keogh/File Photo

(Reuters) - Bournemouth striker Joshua King has recovered from an ankle injury but faces a late fitness test to be in contention for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Arsenal, manager Eddie Howe said on Friday.

King, who has started nine league games scoring four goals this season, aggravated an ankle issue in Bournemouth’s goalless draw with Southampton last month, but has since resumed training with the squad.

“Joshua King has improved and trained with the group and we’ll be excited if he is fit,” Howe told a news conference.

Howe said his squad was in a better position injury-wise than after their 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United before the international break.

“We had a number of players with knocks...The break has given us the chance to nurse our players and we’ll look at them all and assess their fitness ahead of Sunday,” he added.

Bournemouth will be without experienced defender Adam Smith, who underwent a knee operation to repair torn cartilage earlier this month.

Bournemouth beat Arsenal 2-1 in this fixture last season but Howe said he expected a stern test against Unai Emery’s fifth-placed side.

“On paper it is set up to be a very good game. Arsenal have adapted well to the new manager. They have outstanding players, a really good look about their team and are balanced.”

Victory at the Vitality Stadium could extend Bournemouth’s solid start to the campaign, with the team sixth in the standings with 20 points from 12 matches.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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