AFC Bournemouth star Steve Cook returned to action last night for the Cherries’ Under-23s, as they drew 1-1 with Arsenal in the Premier League Cup.
Though the defender’s return was overshadowed by namesake Lewis Cook’s appearance on the pitch, the 30-year-old’s display will be a huge boost for a side who will need all the depth they can get in their quest to return to the Premier League.
The south-coast side have fared reasonably well without his presence at the back so far this season in all fairness, with Gary Cahill and Lloyd Kelly forming a solid partnership in central defence and conceding just eight goals in 11 matches.
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This record has allowed Scott Parker’s men to remain unbeaten at the top of the Championship table going into this international break, winning seven and drawing four of their opening 11 second-tier games and moving three points clear at the summit.
However, having Cook back can only be a benefit to Bournemouth after seeing the central defender lead the club from League One to the Premier League, extending their stay in the top flight beyond most peoples’ expectations and remaining a key part of the Cherries’ lineup last season.
For a man who made 42 league appearances last term, this lengthy spell out with a knee injury must have been a source of frustration, and he took to Twitter last night to express his delight in getting back on the pitch.
He said: “Really good to get 90 mins in tonight. Missed playing at the Vitality. Nice to see so many come out the cheer on the lads. Also great to see Lewis Cook return.”
We take a look at how a selection of AFC Bournemouth supporters reacted to this message after seeing the experienced centre-back make his return.
— Morgan Scott 💡🍒 (@MorganScottUK) October 6, 2021
What a guy! 🙌 https://t.co/JkYOz3Wn7y
— Chris Cooper (@Chris_Cooper_92) October 6, 2021
Great to see you back out there @SteveCook28 👍
Whatever happens from here, it’ll never be forgotten what you’ve done for this football club on and off the pitch 👏🍒
— Matt Davies (@mattdav4) October 6, 2021
Always good to see you out on that hallowed turf ledge ❤️
— the_afcb_fanpage (@theafcbfanpage) October 6, 2021
Great to see you out there tonight Cookie. We’ve missed you.👍🏻
— Margaret Page (@MargaretPage1) October 6, 2021
Thought you and Captain Camp were excellent. 💪
— AFCB_Rob 🍒 (@afcb_r0b) October 6, 2021
It’s a long season Steve be ready 👍🍒🍒🍒🍒🍒🍒🍒🍒
— Clarejmatthews@icloud.com (@leematthewss) October 6, 2021
Missing you buddy🥺
— Swainer🚨 (@AfcbSwainer) October 6, 2021