AFC Bournemouth full-back Adam Smith missed yesterday afternoon’s clash against Nottingham Forest due to illness, according to Cherries manager Scott Parker who spoke to the Bournemouth Daily Echo.
The south-coast side were without numerous first-team players yesterday, including two senior right-backs in Smith and Jack Stacey, with the latter only just missing out after Parker made a late call on his fitness.
This meant centre-backs Chris Mepham and Zeno Ibsen Rossi were both candidates to start on the right, with the Cherries opting to place the former in the more unnatural position in the absence of the duo and 20-year-old Ibsen Rossi operating in his more familiar role in the centre.
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In a boost for Bournemouth, summer signing Leif Davis made the bench for the game at the City Ground, but the left-back only came on for the last ten minutes after just returning to match fitness and was an unrealistic option to utilise from the start.
However, Parker will be hoping 30-year-old Smith will be available for selection very shortly, after managing to tie him down to a fresh two-year deal on the expiration of his contract last month.
Speaking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo about his absence, the Cherries manager said: “He’s not well at the moment, Adam (Smith). He’s obviously not in the travelling party, so that was disappointing.
“When you’re obviously as much stretched as we are, you could do without that.
“But such is the world we’re in at the moment. But I thought we adapted and did well in that.”
It’s currently unclear whether this illness is Covid-19 related or if he will return in time for his side’s next Championship fixture against Birmingham City on Wednesday evening, but after making a late call on teammate Stacey at the weekend, they will be hoping to have him back as a potential replacement for Smith whilst he recovers.
Fair play to Scott Parker for winning four points from a possible six in his opening two league games, because they had eight first-teamers missing yesterday and a good chunk of those are seen as key players at the Vitality Stadium.
Smith, Stacey, Ben Pearson, Jefferson Lerma, Lewis Cook, Steve Cook, Junior Stanislas and Arnaut Danjuma all missed the game at the City Ground, with the latter potentially being the biggest miss after recording an impressive 22 goal contributions in the Championship last term.
However, it was also a huge blow not to have a senior right-back available. Thankfully for the Cherries, Chris Mepham had the experience and capability to fill in well in an unnatural position and they will be hoping this is just a short-term solution and not a sign of things to come.
Bournemouth fans will also be glad that Smith’s absence doesn’t seem to be a long-term one, although with Stacey potentially ready to start on Wednesday night, they may not be in any rush to bring him straight back into the squad.
Smith’s return can only be a boost to the south-coast outfit with the experience he brings to the dressing room and his previous promotion-winning experience at the Vitality Stadium.