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Manchester United have been handed a huge double injury boost ahead of their trip to the Vitality Stadium to take on Bournemouth in the early kick-off of game-week 11 of the Premier League.
Bournemouth star man this season, Joshua King suffered an ankle injury as has been ruled out of Saturday’s match against Manchester United by Eddie Howe in his pre-match press conference, while Simon Francis (groin) faces a late fitness test after picking up an injury in the Carabao Cup match in midweek.
Francis, Steve Cook and Charlie Daniels were the only first-teamers to have kept their places for the unconvincing win over Norwich City on Tuesday, so the other eight players who started the 3-0 victory over Fulham last weekend will likely come back into the reckoning here.
Howe said he was “quietly confident” of Francis’s availability, but Tyrone Mings or Jack Simpson could deputise if the defender doesn’t pass a fitness test.
Alternatively, Daniels could move to centre-back as he did in midweek, with Diego Rico brought in at left wing-back.
King’s unavailability perhaps makes Howe even likelier to stick with the 3-4-3 formation that saw off the Canaries and Fulham, a tactic the Bournemouth manager also used in the Cherries’ only previous meeting with a “big six” club in 2018/19 (Chelsea in Gameweek 4).
The likes of Junior Stanislas, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling all played 90 minutes on Tuesday and will perhaps be back among the substitutes at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.