CHERRIES star Max Gradel is hoping for a clean slate as he looks to reignite his career at Vitality Stadium.

Gradel hit the ground running when he netted and provided an assist during Cherries’ first pre-season friendly against Portuguese outfit Estoril on Saturday.

The 29-year-old frontman teed up Jordon Ibe for Cherries’ opener before bagging a finely-taken individual goal to seal a 2-1 victory at the Marbella Football Center.

Gradel, whose days at the club appeared to be numbered, has rediscovered his best during the club’s training camp in southern Spain.

The Ivorian last season spoke of his frustration at a lack of game time, telling the Daily Echo in April that he was “at an age where I can’t sit on the bench”.

Gradel joined Cherries in a £7m move from St Etienne in August 2015 but saw his first season wrecked by a serious knee injury which kept him out for six months.

He was restricted to 11 substitute appearances in the top flight last season, fuelling speculation he could be set to leave the club during the current transfer window.

However, despite being linked with Sunderland, Hull, Leeds, Nantes and Toulouse, Gradel has indicated he is prepared to fight for his place with Cherries and remain in the Premier League.

In an interview with the club website following the win over Estoril, Gradel was asked whether he felt this was a “fresh start” and replied: “It is because I have come a long way.

“I need to find a fresh point to start and hope I find it now and then, hopefully, I can help my team and my team-mates this season.”

He added: “I have a good feeling about this season so aim to keep working hard and make sure I keep doing well.

“Fitness-wise, it was good to get the first game under my belt and good to finish with a win. It was the first game of the season and it takes time to get back to business.

“For me, the most important thing is the fitness and it was important not to lose the game so it was good. Everything is positive at the moment.

“It is always nice to set up a goal and also to score. I need to carry that on because I was injured for a long time and then it wasn’t easy to get back to my best.

“We have done a lot of finishing in training and I have been scoring a lot of goals. It was nice to get one during the game.”

Gradel impressed Eddie Howe and his staff during the training camp in Marbella, with the manager admitting he had caught the eye and taken his form into the match.

“It is nice to hear that and a good compliment,” said Gradel. “I have to take that on board and keep working hard. I need to make sure he sees that the whole time this season.”