MANAGER Eddie Howe did not rule out Nathan Ake playing again for Cherries this season and added: “We will have to see how he responds in the next few days.”

The Dutch defender hobbled off with a groin problem during the first half of the Dorset club’s 4-1 victory over Leicester on Sunday.

He is set to miss tomorrow’s crucial top-flight clash at Manchester City (6pm) but Howe will play a waiting game on the final two fixtures against Southampton and Everton.

Asked for an update on the centre-back, the boss said: “It’s a minor groin injury. I don’t think it’s anything too serious for Nathan.

“I’m still in the same situation, really. I don’t know whether we will see Nathan again this season. I don’t think it’s a definite no but it’s not a definite yes either.

“We will have to see how he responds in the next few days.”

Ake’s standout performances have seen him linked with an array of clubs, including City, over the past 18 months.

But Howe remained tight-lipped over the 25-year-old’s future.

“I think it would be silly of me to comment on that, to be honest, at this moment in time,” he said.

“Next season and everything beyond it will take care of itself.

“We need to concentrate on the next three games – nothing else.”

Giving an update on the fitness of the rest of his squad, Howe said: “Joshua King, we will see how he is and whether he makes the game.

“Chris Mepham will be out, Simon Francis will be out. Adam Smith won’t make the game.

“We have obvious concerns defensively. We are very stretched in that department of the team.”