Cherries to field "strongest side"

20 March 2021 17:35:20 GMTPlus10

Jonathan Woodgate is having to deal with an absentee crisis as Bournemouth prepare to welcome south-coast rivals Southampton to the Vitality Stadium in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Cherries, the last non-Premier League side left standing in this year's competition, must do without seven of their top stars against Ralph Hasenhuttl's top-flight strugglers.

I'm not one to complain about squad size. We get on with it.

Jonathan Woodgate

Forward Junior Stanislas was the latest withdrawal after tweaking his hamstring during the first half of Bournemouth's impressive 3-0 win over Swansea in the Championship on Tuesday.

Lloyd Kelly, Adam Smith, Lewis Cook and David Brooks were already injured while midfielder Jefferson Lerma is suspended having been booked in the previous two rounds, against Crawley and Burnley.

And Ireland international striker Shane Long, who Bournemouth took on loan from Southampton during the January transfer window, is cup-tied.

It means a host of Bournemouth youngsters will be involved, including academy products Jordan Zemura and Jaidon Anthony, but Cherries' boss Woodgate has faith in whoever gets to play against a Saints side in poor form.

"They deserve their chance," Woodgate told the Bournemouth Echo. "I'm not one to complain about squad size. We get on with it.

"Every team gets injuries. We've just got to make the most of it. It's an opportunity for players to come in and do a job.

"But I'll be putting my strongest side out. I did that in the last round because football is all about winning matches."

Bournemouth are 10/3 to beat Southampton and a 12121/1 chance to go on and lift the trophy at Wembley in May.

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