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AFC Bournemouth: Eddie Howe swoops for Hammers goalkeeper Stephen Henderson
CHERRIES manager Eddie Howe has hailed as “one of the best available goalkeepers” new loan signing Stephen Henderson.
Howe today moved to bring in the stopper on a three-month loan deal from West Ham to help ease Cherries’ mounting goalkeeper crisis.
The 25-year-old Irishman, who impressed during two loan spells at Ipswich last season, is in line to make his debut when Cherries host Millwall at Dean Court on Saturday (3pm).
Henderson has been drafted in as cover for first-choice Ryan Allsop who is forced to sit out the clash against the Lions after picking up a one-match suspension for his red card at Leeds on Tuesday.
And with back-up Darryl Flahavan also ruled out after sustaining a thigh injury against Leeds, Shwan Jalal out of favour and Benji Buchel recovering from a long-term injury layoff, Howe looks set to hand a start to the Hammers man.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “We have lost Ryan through suspension and Darryl picked up a thigh strain coming for a ball at Leeds on Tuesday so we felt we needed to bring in an experienced goalkeeper who has played the level.
"Stephen is a good shot-stopper, experienced, a good kicker and good coming for crosses so he ticks all the boxes and we are delighted to have brought him in. I am sure he will do well and will enjoy being here and playing some games.”
Henderson, who progressed through the ranks at Aston Villa before joining Bristol City in 2007, has found himself down the pecking order at Upton Park following the arrival of Spanish goalkeeper Adrian to provide competition for first-choice Jussi Jaaskelainen.
Howe added: “It is difficult for goalkeepers because only one can play. The difficulty is no club will ever loan their number two so we are delighted to get Stephen because we think he is one of the best available.”
Henderson served on loan York, Weymouth, Aldershot and Yeovil during his spell at Bristol City before signing for Portsmouth in July 2011. The Dubliner, capped by his country at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 level, joined the Hammers for an undisclosed fee in May 2012 and played 26 times in the Championship for Ipswich last season.
News of Flahavan’s injury had been kept under wraps until Henderson’s signing had been announced, while Jalal was recalled from a loan spell at Oxford United earlier this week.
Howe added: “It is really bad timing for Flavs and he is unfortunate with his injury but, hopefully, he will come back soon. He was outstanding at Leeds because it is very difficult to come in from the cold like that. One minute he was sitting on the bench and the next he was saving a penalty.
“He is an excellent pro and that is why he has had the career he has and has played at the level he has. He has given brilliant support to Ryan this season and is a role model for him to learn from, to watch and to follow.”
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