EDDIE Howe revealed Lloyd Kelly’s wait for his Premier League debut would continue after he suffered a setback from a thigh injury.

The 21-year-old is yet to feature in the top flight since signing for £13million from Bristol City in the summer.

He sustained an ankle problem during pre-season which saw him miss the start of the campaign before his latest injury issue.

Asked for an update on the defender, Howe told the Daily Echo: “Lloyd’s had a slight setback with his rehab.

“He was doing well at one stage but he just felt a little bit of pain in that thigh again.

“He is going to be out. I don’t think long term but certainly there is no immediate return for him.”

Kelly played 90 minutes during the Carabao Cup third round-defeat to Burton in September.

That came during a run of four league fixtures in which the Bristol-born talent was an unused substitute, against Arsenal, Norwich, Watford and Manchester United.

Having been left out of Howe’s squad for the trip to Newcastle in November through injury, Kelly also was forced to pull out of Aidy Boothroyd’s England under-21 squad.

“It’s hugely frustrating for him and us because we really believe in him. We really do,” said Howe.

“We think he’s got all the attributes to be an outstanding player in whatever position we play him in.

“At this time with the other injuries we have it was the last thing we needed but it’s happened and we have to deal with it.”