Bournemouth to take late call on Cook for Spurs test

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v AFC Bournemouth - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - September 20, 2019 Bournemouth's Steve Cook reacts REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

(Reuters) - Bournemouth’s Steve Cook faces a late fitness test to be ready for Thursday’s Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur while fellow centre back Chris Mepham has a knee problem that may require surgery, manager Eddie Howe said on Wednesday.

Cook missed relegation-threatened Bournemouth’s 5-2 defeat by Manchester United on Saturday with a hamstring strain while Mepham was left out of the squad due to his injury.

“Steve Cook’s improved. Whether he’s fit enough to play I don’t know at this moment,” Howe told a news conference.

“Chris Mepham has had an injection in his knee, we’re doing everything we can to try and avoid him having an operation.”

Top-scorer Callum Wilson will return to the team having served a two-match ban for collecting 10 yellow cards this season.

Defeat at Old Trafford in their last match left Howe’s side in 19th place with 27 points from 33 games. They are four points off the safety zone.

“I see a lot of hurt in the dressing room, a lot of players who really do care. We’ve got great professionals, I’ve always maintained that. The players are determined to turn it around,” Howe added.

“It’s a difficult moment for us, there’s no denying that. It’s been difficult to take the results personally. Nothing has affected my motivation to turn it around.”

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge