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Cherries: Saints star Barnard signs on loan
MANAGER Paul Groves is backing new loan recruit Lee Barnard to provide valuable additional firepower to Cherries ’ attacking resources.
Cherries last night confirmed to the Daily Echo that Barnard had signed until January 1, subject to Football League and Premier League approval.
Groves will name the Southampton striker in his squad for today’s clash at Portsmouth – as long as the move gets the green light before the noon deadline.
If the authorities give the go-ahead, the 28-year-old could be thrown straight into Cherries’ starting line-up for the League One opener.
The Saints man’s appearance would add spice to the derby as he would be likely to receive a hostile reception from the Fratton Park faithful.
Groves revealed he opted to swoop for Barnard after injured summer signings Frank Demouge and Josh McQuoid had joined Charlie Sheringham in the treatment room.
Barnard will face competition from Wes Thomas and Matt Tubbs, who started up front in the League Cup loss at Oxford United, as well as Lewis Grabban and Steve Fletcher .
Groves told the Daily Echo: “His goals-to-games ratio and the fact he has proved he can score goals at this level were the big factors, as well as his play.
“We are well aware of his play and intelligence and feel that he fits into what we are looking to do.”
The former Tottenham trainee, who is contracted to Saints until the summer of 2014, made a name for himself at Southend with 35 league goals in two years.
That record earned him a £175,000 move to St Mary’s, where he has netted 23 times in 62 league appearances.
Cherries won the race for his signature despite rumoured interest from Brighton, with Saints deeming Barnard surplus to requirements following their promotion to the Premier League.
The proposed switch also comes hot on the heels of Groves laughing off Internet speculation which had claimed the Londoner was training with Cherries.
Groves last night admitted he had been keen to keep the deal quiet due to its “on-off” nature and his desire not to alert other clubs.