BOSS Andoni Iraola is holding onto the slim hope he will “receive a good surprise” about Lloyd Kelly’s future, as he insisted the speculation had not been affecting the 25-year-old.

Kelly looks set to depart Cherries on a free transfer this summer after five years at the club, with Newcastle United hotly tipped as his next destination.

Toon boss Eddie Howe brought Kelly to Cherries when he was in charge of the Dorset club five years ago.

Asked if he holds out any hope the club’s former captain will sign a new deal to stay beyond this summer, Iraola said: “For me it's very difficult right now.

“In my opinion, maybe I receive a good surprise, but for me it's even more difficult when the time goes and you arrive without a contract, because I know that the club has been pushing.

“I've told you a lot of times during the season, for me Lloyd is one of our best players, but right now it becomes more and more difficult because the end arrives and I suppose it's more difficult.

“But there are chances. Until he is out of contract, there are chances.”

Bournemouth Echo: Lloyd Kelly looks set to leave Cherries this summer

Kelly, who is equally adept at centre-back or left-back, has seen his game-time hampered by injury and illness this season, making 24 appearances and scoring once.

Speculation has surrounded the former Bristol City man all season regarding his future, Cherries turning down a bid from Tottenham Hotspur in August.

But Iraola says that does not seem to have affected him day-to-day since.

“I haven’t asked him personally, what he’s going to do next season, if he is going to re-sign,” said Iraola.

“I haven’t asked him. I normally don’t with the players.

“But I don’t think it has affected anything about his performances, his attitude.

“I think he has been very, very good for us this season.

“The problem with him probably is that he hasn’t been healthy this season as much as we would like.

“But the games he has played, I think he has been very good.”

Kelly’s final game for Cherries could come against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (4pm).