BOSS Eddie Howe insists Jayden Stockley can be an “asset” to Cherries providing he seizes his chance during a “big year”.
The young striker is pondering an offer of a new 12-month contract after being handed an opportunity to extend his stay at the club.
Stockley, who last featured for Cherries in Lee Bradbury’s final game as manager in March 2012, has had several loan spells during his time at Dean Court.
Howe unearthed Stockley when he was centre of excellence manager in 2008 and gave him his Football League debut in October 2009 – just a month after his 16th birthday.
The 20-year-old was surprisingly placed in a newly-formed development squad by Paul Groves before being elevated back to the first-team ranks following Howe’s return in October 2012.
Stockley netted three times in 10 appearances during a loan spell with Accrington Stanley in 2011-12 and bagged 10 goals for Conference outfit Woking in 2012-13.
He scored once during eight substitute appearances for Leyton Orient in League One last season and once for Torquay after playing 19 games in League Two.
Since shooting to prominence when he was named among the Cherries substitutes as a 15-year-old, Stockley has netted twice in 22 appearances for the club.
Howe told the Daily Echo: “When you invest a lot of money in young players, as we do with those who come through, it is very easy to cast them aside if they have an unsuccessful year. The reality is they need to be given time.
“I feel Jayden is a player who has the capability to find his feet in the professional game and be an asset to us so, before making an early decision, we want to give him every chance to fulfil his potential with us.
“I think it will be a very important year for him regarding his future with us because, at some stage, we will need to see him competing for a first-team place.
“He is aware it will be a big year.”