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AFC Bournemouth: Ritchie return edges closer with final check-up
CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe believes long-term injury victim Matt Ritchie could be closing in on a return to action.
Ritchie, who has been sidelined since the start of pre-season due to a persistent thigh problem, is currently in Italy having a final check-up.
The 23-year-old is being assessed at the Villa Stuart Clinic, the FIFA-accredited sports medicine hospital in Rome where Cherries are on the verge of arranging a tie-up.
Ritchie has not featured since initially feeling discomfort in his thigh during Cherries’ friendly against FC Zurich at the start of July.
The winger, who played a key role in the latter stages of the club’s promotion, was referred for specialist medical treatment in September after suffering a setback during his rehabilitation.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “Matt has gone back to Italy for a final look at his injury before we step him up again. We want to check everyone is happy with him before we kick him on to full training. It is good news in that respect but we still haven’t seen him with us yet.”
Ritchie joined team-mates Mohamed Coulibaly and Josh McQuoid in Italy, the pair also undergoing intensive treatment to their respective injuries.
Coulibaly has been troubled by a nagging Achilles problem, while McQuoid suffered cartilage damage to his right knee during a pre-season training session.
Howe said: “Mo has been in Italy for three weeks. We hope to have him back next week when we can push him on quite quickly.
“Josh is also in Italy at the moment and we hope he won’t be too long. But he is behind Mo and Matt, who we expect to get back before him.”
Meanwhile, Howe confirmed loan goalkeeper Stephen Henderson had gone under the knife after dislocating his left shoulder during Cherries’ 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.
“It is hopefully not as serious as we first thought but it is still going to put him out for a period of time,” said Howe. “We won’t see him again before his loan is up.”
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