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Bournemouth's survival in doubt after injury crisis

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AFC Bournemouth fans could be forgiven for feeling a little negative about their side's chances of avoiding relegation this season.

The Cherries are experiencing their first ever season in the Barclays Premier League and manager Eddie Howe, who has recently signed a contract extension, has been tasked with making sure that they remain in the top-flight.

However, that task has been made even harder by being hit with a severe injury crisis, losing several players who were vital to achieve what was already considered a substantial challenge.

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The newly-promoted side have lost a host of key players to long-term injuries, with the most recent being club captain Tommy Elphick.

The 28-year old has been ruled out by an ankle injury and faces up to ten weeks on the sidelines. Elphick joins a lengthy injury list which includes Callum Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings, all of whom have suffered long-term injuries since the start of the season.

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This injury crisis could hamper Bournemouth's campaign to avoid relegation this season, as it is extremely crucial for any manager of a newly-promoted team to have his best players fit and firing in order to avoid relegation from the top flight.

Losing top scorer Wilson to a serious knee injury is perhaps valued as the worst casualty the south coast club have suffered.

The striker, who scored 20 goals in the Championship to help Bournemouth achieve promotion last season, has introduced himself to the Premier League in fine fashion, scoring five goals in seven appearances.

Without him, the Cherries looked like they would seriously struggle for goals.

However, new recruit Glenn Murray seems to have already taken the goal-scoring responsibilities, scoring in his first league start against promoted rivals Watford. However, the former Crystal Palace man will need to be scoring consistently to ensure that Wilson's absence does not affect the team too significantly.

In addition to the loss of Wilson, Howe has been forced to deal with losing two of his side's defensive players in summer signing Mings and club captain Elphick.

The former was signed from Championship club Ipswich Town for a club record fee of £8 million and there were high hopes for his first season in the top flight but he too has been ruled out with a serious knee injury.

Whilst the latter sustained an ankle injury and after coming through an operation to treat the problem, was ruled out for almost three months.

To make matters worse, Gradel is also out for six months and, therefore it becomes very clear to see just why Howe thinks his side have been subject to a case of bad luck.

The 37-year-old will be desperate to get to the January transfer window to help him strengthen his side and boost their chances of survival. Until then, the Bournemouth boss will have to find a way to help his side win without these key men.

The south coast side face a trip to the Etihad Stadium to play Manchester City and the league leaders' tendency to push some of the weaker teams aside with ease will be giving Howe plenty of headaches this week.

Whether or not Bournemouth can shrug off their injury concerns and avoid the drop remains to be seen, but it's sure to be a very tough and intriguing battle to stay amongst the elite.

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Premier League
Football
Bournemouth

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