AFC Bournemouth have been given a boost ahead of Sunday’s home tie against Sheffield United with both Jack Stacey and Joshua King returning from injury – although it will be a late call as to whether they feature.
The Cherries travel to Bramall Lane on the back of two vital Premier League wins, seeing them rise into 16th position in the table.
Ex-Sheffield United player David Brooks will not play against his former club after undergoing ankle surgery in December.
Cherries’ manager Eddie Howe said: “David Brooks is still some way away from featuring. He’s back in England and was training on grass for the first time yesterday.”
Joshua King was the centre of speculation during the transfer window linking the Norweigian forward to a return to former club Manchester United.
However, despite being linked with the move away Howe insists the 28-year-old is fully focused on the job at hand with the Cherries.
He said: “All is very good, it’s been a difficult couple of days, but it is a huge compliment and a huge moment for him to have Manchester United come in.
“He’s very focused on our current position and this club. He knows we’re in a relegation fight and there’s no time to focus on himself.
“He is very much a team player, and looking forward to being fit and contributing to our battle.”
The South-Coast side faces the prospect of the newly introduced Premier League winter break once Sunday’s fixture concludes – which the Bournemouth boss has welcomed.
Howe said: “It’s a great idea, for the international players it’s a brilliant idea. I fear for them sometimes with their busy schedules. After a hectic Christmas it’s nice to have a break.”
But there are no plans for the club to go away as a collective, he added: “We’re not taking the players away as a group. It’s up to the players individually to choose what they do.”
For now though Eddie Howe will have the challenge of overcoming high-flying Sheffield United who sit sixth in the table following a very strong start from the Yorkshire side.
Howe praised the Blades efforts so far, adding: “They have done an incredible job this season, Chris Wilder and all the staff. To get promoted is hard enough and to stabilise it is incredibly difficult as we found.”
The match kicks off at 2pm on Sunday and is live on Sky Sports, with regular updates throughout the day from BUzz on Twitter, @buzz_bmth.