EDDIE Howe insisted Ryan Fraser was in “good condition” as he dismissed claims the winger struggles to play two games in a week.

Speaking to The Scotsman last week, Alloa boss Peter Grant said Cherries ace Fraser was unable to compete to a high level twice in the space of a few days.

Grant, who played for Cherries between 2000 and 2002 and was a team-mate of Howe’s, worked with Fraser whilst assistant manager of Scotland.

The 54-year-old former Scotland international was number two to Alex McLeish between March 2018 and April 2019, during which time Fraser featured five times for his country.

The winger also withdrew twice from the squad during that period due to injury and missed Scotland’s Euro 2020 qualifier in Kazakhstan in March over concerns regarding the impact of their artificial playing surface on Fraser’s body.

Discussing balancing the Scotland squad during his time as assistant boss when the nation had two fixtures to fulfil in less than a week, Grant said: “Guys like Ryan Fraser and (Celtic’s) James Forrest can’t play two matches together.

“You don’t get the same performance from them (each time). Their bodies don’t allow it.”

Fraser, who featured in all 38 Premier League games last season, starting 35, played 63 minutes for Cherries at Tottenham on Saturday ahead of tomorrow's trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace (7.30pm). Asked for his take on Grant’s claims that the Scot struggles with playing two matches in a week, Howe told the Daily Echo: “I’m sure if you ask Ryan, I think you’d get a different opinion to that.

“Ryan’s done it for us previously. I think he’s got more robust as he’s got older.

“I think that’s certainly something maybe in his younger days he may have struggled with.

“I think now he’s in good condition.”

Fraser has started 10 of Cherries’ 14 top-flight games this season, coming on as a substitute in three. The only match he missed was the home clash with West Ham in September due to illness.

The 25-year-old limped off at the end of last month’s home defeat by Wolves, holding his thigh having completed 90 minutes despite picking up a knock in the first half.

But Howe says he has no big concerns regarding Fraser’s fitness as Cherries prepare for their second of eight games in the space of 33 days across the festive period tonight.

“He suffered a dead leg in the Wolves game,” said Howe.

“Of course at this time of year all players are probably carrying certain knocks and niggles, but that’s what we’ve got the squad for.

“So we’ll speak to everybody and see how they feel.”

Cherries still have a lengthy injury list for their trip to Crystal Palace. Charlie Daniels (knee), Lloyd Kelly (thigh), Andrew Surman (knee), Junior Stanislas (knee), David Brooks (ankle) and Joshua King (hamstring) are unavailable, while Adam Smith and Jordon Ibe (both illness) are doubts for the contest.

Simon Francis and Philip Billing are available again having served one-match suspensions.

Palace sit 11th in the table, one place and two points ahead of Cherries.