Bournemouth to take caution with Max Gradel’s return from injury

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When Junior Stanislas went down with an injury early in Bournemouth’s draw against Watford, Max Gradel was called upon to play more than an hour off the bench.

It was Gradel’s first appearance for the Cherries since August, when he suffered a knee injury that kept him out six months.

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While Gradel’s return is a great step forward for Bournemouth, manager Eddie Howe confirmed Stanislas will miss “a few weeks” with a hamstring injury. Gradel would be an option to replace Stanislas in the starting lineup, but the boss doesn’t want to take any chances.

Obviously Max has returned now, but we have to manage his workload.

I’ll speak with the player, he’s been out for a long period of time and we didn’t want to throw him in as early as we did on Saturday.

But he was very bright and we’re pleased with his performance, but we have to manage him correctly as we have three games this week.

With 11 matches to play in the Premier League season, Bournemouth sit 15th and are five points above safety.

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After playing Southampton on Tuesday, the Cherries’ face Newcastle and Swansea, two clubs sitting below them on the table. With the threat of relegation still present, Gradel’s impact could help earn vital points for Bournemouth’s survival.