Eddie Howe: Jermain Defoe needs to prove fitness


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Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe says Jermain Defoe is not as fit as he would like to be but insists the striker will get the opportunity to start against Birmingham on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old joined the Cherries on a free deal over the summer after suffering relegation with Sunderland last season.

Defoe enjoyed a good few years at the Stadium of Light, having netted 15 league goals in each of the last two seasons, although the club was always battling against the drop.

The England international is yet to start a game for Bournemouth but he did get off the bench for the last half hour of Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Watford.

Bournemouth are yet to hit the back of the next in their opening two Premier League games but they will have the chance to kick start their season on Tuesday in the Carabao Cup.

Championship side Birmingham will host Bournemouth and Howe insists it is the perfect opportunity for Defoe to prove he is up to speed.

Asked if it had been a tough call to leave out Defoe on Saturday, Howe said: “Not really.

We just think he’s not where he needs to be fitness-wise. “Jermain needs some more work and he’ll get an opportunity on Tuesday.

I think starting a game is always a good indicator.” Bournemouth can be backed at 2.20 to pick up a win at St Andrew’s, while Birmingham are priced at 3.30 to come out on top and the draw is available at 3.50.

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