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AFC Bournemouth: Eunan O'Kane keen to keep his place following Championship bow
EUNAN O’Kane is hoping to keep his place in Cherries’ midfield after making a bittersweet first start in the Championship.
The 23-year-old ended his frustrating wait for a full debut in the second tier when he was drafted in to face leaders Blackpool on Saturday.
In the absence of injured colleagues Harry Arter and Andrew Surman, boss Eddie Howe selected fit-again O’Kane to partner Shaun MacDonald in the engine room.
The former Torquay star, who had suffered a thigh injury in pre-season before turning his ankle at Huddersfield, was powerless to prevent the Tangerines claiming a 2-1 win.
But the midfielder, who had previously figured as a substitute in league defeats against Watford and Huddersfield, hopes he has done enough to face Barnsley at Dean Court tonight (7.45pm).
O’Kane told the Daily Echo: “It was nice to get my first Championship start. I have been so unfortunate with injuries. Then, when I was fit, Harry and Shaun were doing a really good job and I couldn’t get in.
“Unfortunately for Harry, he had a little bit of a knock and Drew is also out, so I got my chance.
“Hopefully, I did enough on Saturday for the gaffer to be a little bit impressed with me and, hopefully, he will be thinking ‘Eunan can do the job at this level’.
“I had injuries and at the start of the season, I wasn’t quite ready. The gaffer had to go with the best team he had at that given time and I knew Harry and Shaun was the partnership that he had to go with.
“After doing my ankle at Huddersfield, I thought I was never going to be ready or have the opportunity. Thankfully, it came on Saturday and it is nice to say I have played in the Championship, even though we lost.”
O’Kane admits Cherries need to be more clinical – in both penalty areas – following their 2-1 defeat at the hands of Blackpool.
He added: “From our point of view, it was disappointing to concede two goals in the way that we did. You have got to be very good in both boxes.
“I thought we played quite well in the first half. We didn’t look poorer than them and they didn’t look a level above us. I thought we did really well.
“But we need to be better with the ball than we were during the latter part of the game, and we need to be better at defensive set-plays.”
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