The Cherries will be pleased to see the back of September. While the start to their season has been fairly good, there is much regret that there will be some £15 million of talent now sidelined for six to nine months at best as Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings sustained cruciate ligament injuries in AFC Bournemouth’s last game before the international break against Leicester City.
What is going to be the impact of these player casualties on the Cherries’ season though? Max Gradel was certainly starting to look like the player that had done so well at St-Etienne and was getting into positions where he was having opportunities to get his first goal for the Cherries.
Those kind of attacking qualities have to be filled now by squad players who will not have been Eddie Howe’s first team choice. So the likes of Josh King and Junior Stanislas will be expected to grab their chance. But even the former has been troubled with a slight pull that has kept him out of the squad for recent matches, as well as the Norway international team.
Meanwhile, there will be plenty of time to admire Bournemouth’s beaches for Mings as he has a more severe injury than Gradel, and to be stretchered off on his Premier League debut is going to have been particularly crushing for the player. Tyrone had been up against it to get picked with Charlie Daniels being in such great form, but when Daniels came down badly on one of his knees, after going for a header, the full-back was subbed to give Mings his moment against Leicester. It was just a moment as well – six minutes later the former Ipswich man found himself out for the season.
The left side of the team is now going to have to be bolstered and Eddie Howe has already moved for Joe Bennett on loan from Aston Villa. While Charlie Daniels’ injury quickly cleared up, it is likely that the changes will upset the balance of the team slightly, while AFC Bournemouth try and win back some of the momentum lost by losing a couple of players. The mood in the camp though is something that will not change. Steve Cook has said that the players will support Mings and Gradel and give them encouragement during their long rehabilitation. Being part of the club is something that injuries will not take away. The importance of being in this together is always held very high at the Vitality stadium. It is what gives the players such strength and a feeling of belonging.
If anything, I’d argue that the injuries will make the Cherries even more determined to play well. They now have two players who they can play for and ensure that when they do come back that most of the job is already done with the club hopefully on the verge of a second season in the English Premier League. While the personal suffering to Mings and Gradel is huge, there is always a positive angle that Eddie Howe will look for and for someone there will now be a great chance to play a bigger part in the season than they might have expected.
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