Cherries: Jalal fitness boost for Howe
Cherries goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has handed boss Eddie Howe a festive boost after being given a clean bill of health. Jalal is in line to hit the comeback trail when Cherries travel to League Two rivals Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day. The 26-year-old would have faced Notts County last night, only for the clash to fall foul of the Arctic weather just two hours before kick-off. Jalal has endured a frustrating month with ankle and calf injuries restricting him to just one full appearance in Cherries' past four games. But having been sidelined since being forced off against Shrewsbury three weeks ago, Cherries' star stopper is ready to reclaim his place at Whaddon Road. Jalal said: It's been a disappointing past few weeks. Ever since I've been here, I hadn't had any problems with injuries and I've just had two in quick succession. I turned my ankle in a five-a-side game just before we played Notts County in the FA Cup and it was really disappointing to miss that one but Dan Thomas came in and did ever so well. I had some intensive treatment and made it back for Barnet when everything was fine. I was fine going into the Shrewsbury game but felt a ripple down the side of my calf. It was just too soon to come back against Morecambe, which was unfortunate, and I've been trying to get the strength back in my calf. I've been training since Wednesday and it has felt fine so, fingers crossed, that is an end to the injuries and I can look forward to the festive period. The last thing I wanted was to come back too early and risk straining it again and maybe be out for four or five weeks. It may have been different if we'd had a more experienced number two but that's not taking anything away from Dan because he's done ever so well. He's had a baptism of fire and coped with it really well. It gives me a fillip to know the manager holds me in such high regard and I just want to keep repaying his faith. All the lads love working for him and I'm the same. Asked whether last night's postponement was a blessing in disguise for him, Jalal replied: Not really. I wanted to get back. I've had two weeks without a game and all the lads are disappointed the game was off. After the Morecambe result, the game couldn't have come quickly enough and it's a big blow. But we can't do anything about the weather and credit must go to the groundstaff for trying to get the game on and giving it this much of a chance. Meanwhile, midfielder Mark Molesley is today likely to learn his fate after undergoing an MRI scan to his injured foot yesterday evening.
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