EDDIE Howe is hopeful the upcoming international break will give his Cherries squad the chance to refresh for the Premier League’s closing stretch.

Cherries have been heavily affected by injuries in recent months, with Lewis Cook and Simon Francis rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in their right knees in December.

Callum Wilson and David Brooks have only just returned from seven and four-week spells on the sidelines, respectively, while Adam Smith picked up a hamstring issue at Huddersfield on Saturday and Steve Cook and Junior Stanislas are still out.

After this Saturday’s home clash with Newcastle, the international break kicks in and Howe hopes it will prove positive.

He said: “The problem since getting the two serious injuries has been that the squad has been stretched and we haven’t been able to rest players at appropriate times.

“They have had to play through little niggles and those niggles have become worse.

“We’ve been playing catch-up and we are still in that position, to a degree, where we’ve had to push Brooksy and Callum back.

“Although they were fit to play, possibly I would have liked to have managed their game time slightly differently.

“But that’s the situation we’ve been in and, hopefully, with the international break coming up we can get the squad looking pretty strong again.”