AFC Bournemouth: Howe wary of lethal Leicester strikeforce

Bournemouth Echo: STAR DUO: Foxes strikers David Nugent and Jamie Vardy STAR DUO: Foxes strikers David Nugent and Jamie Vardy

BOSS Eddie Howe expects Cherries to face one of their toughest defensive examinations of the season against lethal Leicester pair David Nugent and Jamie Vardy.

Experienced campaigner Nugent and non-league find Vardy are set to lead the line when the Championship leaders visit Dean Court tomorrow (3pm).

Nugent and Vardy were on target when the Foxes claimed a narrow 2-1 win over Cherries at King Power Stadium in October and have registered 17 and 10 goals, respectively.

Howe told the Daily Echo: “They have struck up a very good understanding this season. They complement each other and have probably established the best strike partnership in the division. They are definitely up there with Danny Ings and Sam Vokes at Burnley.

“We know it is going to be a really tough test defensively. Both players offer different challenges but both are very mobile and athletic and we are going to have to be at our very best to cope with them.

“Nigel Pearson has done very well at Leicester. It was a tough job when he came back a second time because they had obvious ambitions to get into the Premier League.

"With those expectations, it is sometimes very difficult to match them. But they started the season well and have kept it going.

"They don’t change too much about how they play but haven’t needed to because it has worked. They have been consistent and are on a very good run of eight consecutive wins.

“It has all the makings of being a really good game. We have enjoyed our run of home games and our performances levels have been very high. Hopefully, we can match those.”

Howe has a number of injury concerns with Charlie Daniels (thigh), Eunan O’Kane (dead leg), Ryan Fraser (hamstring) and Tokelo Rantie (hamstring) all facing a race to be fit.

New recruit Adam Smith, who has not played competitively since mid-October, could be added to the squad with Howe unconcerned about the defender’s lack of match action.

He said: “We will take an overall picture rather than just look at him individually. We would have liked him to have had more games but he is a fit lad and is young so that wouldn’t worry me too much.

“Our back four have performed very well in recent weeks so we will have a look at our squad and try to pick the best team.

"What I am aware of is the fact we have had a lot of games in a short space of time and on a lot of heavy pitches so we might have to take that into account.”

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