MANAGER Eddie Howe has promised to help Miles Addison and Tommy Elphick forget their injury nightmares – by handing them major roles in Cherries’ promotion dream.
Manager Howe hailed the duo’s leadership and professionalism after revealing he saw them as “big players” in Cherries’ League One bid this term.
Howe gave his verdict on the centre-backs after they had starred in arguably Cherries’ best defensive display of the season on Saturday.
Captain Addison and former Brighton star Elphick stood firm as in-form Cherries resisted second-half pressure to claim a 1-0 win at Doncaster.
Howe has demonstrated his faith in the pair by partnering them in every league match since he succeeded Paul Groves as manager.
Mainstays of the team and top of the Cherries appearance charts this term, Addison and Elphick have featured 19 and 17 times, respectively.
Both players have previously endured more than their fair share of injury woe – with Addison hampered by a long-term foot problem while at Derby County and Elphick missing all of his last season at Brighton due to an Achilles injury.
But Howe insisted the summer signings would be given the backing to showcase their skills at Goldsands Stadium.
He told the Daily Echo: “Whenever you have an injury as serious as the pair of them had, it is going to knock you.
“But they have got a platform here, at a great club, to try to move their careers forward again, and we will certainly help them do that.
“They are both a joy to work with so it is good having them on board.
“I think they are both leaders. Miles is captain but Tommy is a great talker in the dressing room and they are both very good professionals and both want to do well. You can see that by how they prepare and the effort that goes into making sure they are on top of their game physically as well.
“They are both going to have to manage their injuries – I think that is key – and we help them do that.
“But I was really pleased with them on Saturday.”
Howe was impressed by the way Addison and Elphick cancelled out Doncaster strike duo Billy Paynter and Chris Brown.
He added: “They stuck their heads on the block on Saturday and won their aerial duels, which is so important against two players like Paynter and Brown, who are aerial targets. They dealt with set-plays and their positioning was really good.
“They are two winners and are two lads that want to do well and achieve things.
“I know Tommy has had a long injury lay-off, as had Miles, and touch wood we can keep them both fit because they are big players for us.”