STEVE Cook described as “strange” the prospect of facing former team-mate and close friend Jack Wilshere tomorrow afternoon – with the pair having recently spent time together holidaying in Ibiza.

The duo were both at Cherries during the 2016-17 campaign when Wilshere joined on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal.

They have remained in touch since the creative midfielder left Vitality Stadium and could face each other when Wilshere’s West Ham United visit Dorset tomorrow (3pm).

Discussing his off-field relationship with Wilshere, Cook told the Daily Echo: “He’s a great lad. I’m still really good friends with him and just had a holiday with him.

“We went to Ibiza, just a little break. It was families, but no kids. We’re still talking and we still spend time together so it’s quite nice.”

Coming up against friends in football is not uncommon, but for Cook, having spent almost his whole professional career at Cherries means the meeting with Wilshere offers something of a rarity.

“It’s a strange one,” said the defender.

“A lot of the lads have spent time with a lot of players in other teams. Myself, I haven’t played at any other team.

“I think it’s a strange one but it’s a bit of a cliché, but when you do get onto the pitch, it just becomes normal and (like) you don’t know each other.”

After struggles with injury last season, Wilshere has returned to action for the Hammers this campaign, featuring five times, although he has not started in the Premier League since mid-August.

And Cook is well-aware of the threats the England international poses.

He said: “He (Wilshere) probably feels a little bit gutted that he’s not in the team right now. But he’s an extremely talented player and if he does play against us, it’s going to be a tough game.

“But they’ve got a lot of very good individuals so it’s going to be a really tough game.”

The signing of Wilshere from the Gunners felt like a big coup for boss Eddie Howe and the midfielder helped Cherries to their highest ever Premier League finish of ninth during his only campaign on the south coast.

“It will be great to see Jack again,” said Howe.

“He’s someone that I’ve spoken a lot about previously and how highly I rate him as a player, a person and we really enjoyed our time having him here, so it will be nice to see him again.”

He added: “It’s great to see him back fit and playing football. I think that’s what everyone connected with Jack wants to see.

“I can only speak of his time with us. He was fit for the majority of the season. He had a little spell at the end where he picked up an injury and we missed him towards the back end of the season, but for the majority of the season he was really good for us and we managed to build that relationship and we had a good time.

“He’s got undoubted qualities, he’s got that creative eye, he’s very much a positive passer in the final third.

“He can find the match-defining pass or moment in the match if you allow him to. Like the majority of West Ham’s midfielders to be honest. They’ve got a very creative midfield, a very strong unit and I think that’s a big battle in the match ahead.”