BOSS Eddie Howe is set to tone down Cherries’ training schedule in a bid to avoid a major personnel crisis.
Injuries to a number of key players are threatening to undermine the efforts of Howe and his table-topping squad, with midfielders Sammy Igoe, Joe Partington and Marvin Bartley all looking unlikely to feature against Burton Albion on Saturday.
Veteran Steve Fletcher and winger Liam Feeney are also below 100 per cent, with Shaun Cooper and Jeff Goulding already sidelined.
And with Howe unable to bolster his resources due to the club’s ongoing transfer embargo, the Cherries manager has revealed his fears over the increasing list of absentees.
“The trouble with us at the moment is we’re only a couple more injuries away from being in a little bit of trouble,” he admitted.
“This week in training we’re going to have to be careful with the boys who we have got fit and really make sure, if we can, no one else goes down because it would leave us really thin on the ground.
“We’re just going to have to ease their training schedule down a little bit. Bearing in mind the fact we’ve got a lot of games coming up, we’re going to need all the squad fit.”
Cherries face back-to-back midweek matches in the coming weeks, so the importance of ridding the squad of its injury problems is not lost on Howe.
He added: “I think injuries are always a worry, especially when you can’t bring anybody in to replace them, as everyone knows that’s our situation.
“That’s why I might need to get Jason (Tindall, assistant manager) training a little bit because we’re going to need everybody.”
In-form playmaker Igoe sat out the victory over Darlington because of a knee problem and he is expected to undergo a scan to determine the full extent of the injury.
Partington is suffering from a groin problem, while Bartley faces a fortnight out of action after fracturing a bone in his right hand during the reserve team defeat at Salisbury City last week.
Fletcher’s long-standing knee problems remain an issue, while flying winger Feeney is being hampered by a thigh injury.
All this means that the only first-team player set to feature in this afternoon’s reserve clash is first-year professional George Webb.
A youthful Cherries side will host Plymouth Argyle at Dean Court in the totesport.com Combination (2pm).
Cherries fans can now get their hands on a match programme and the Echo’s Saturday edition (including magazine) for just £3.25.
The offer (subject to availablity) starts this weekend, when Burton Albion visit Dean Court.