Ex-Roma winger in frame for Pompey clash

Argentine winger Juan Iturbe is set for his first Bournemouth start in Saturday's FA Cup trip to Fratton Park.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 28th January 2016, 6:30 am
AFC Bournemouth's Juan Iturbe on the ball against West Ham
AFC Bournemouth's Juan Iturbe on the ball against West Ham

The transfer window loan recruit from Roma grabbed a hat-trick for the Cherries’ under-21 side against Gillingham on Tuesday afternoon.

They ran out 4-3 winners at Canford Park Arena, with striker Joshua King also netting in his comeback match.

The game also marked the return from injury of skipper Tommy Elphick and, like King, he is expected to be in contention for the Pompey fixture.

Eddie Howe previously made 11 changes to his team for their third round victory at Birmingham City.

And the Cherries manager is expected to maintain that policy at Fratton Park, especially with a Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace on Tuesday evening.

It means Iturbe is likely to make his full debut against the Blues, having previously appeared as a substitute against West Ham.

The 22-year-old has also twice been an unused substitute as Howe seeks to ease him into the English game following an arrival for a £1.1m loan fee.

Bournemouth named a strong line-up against Gillingham earlier in the week and many could be involved in the FA Cup fixture.

They included Jordan Lee, Baily Cargill, Shaun MacDonald, Matt Butcher, Glenn Murray and Eunan O’Kane, who all featured in the third round 2-1 win at Birmingham.

Norwich recruit Lewis Grabban, King and Elphick also lined-up against the Gills and are expected to face Paul Cook’s side.

Interestingly, goalkeeper Adam Federici and Sylvain Distin did not play on Tuesday, yet started against Birmingham in the previous round.

Distin, in particular, is expected to play at Fratton Park.

He has recently lost his place in Howe’s Premier League side.

His presence will no doubt attract a generous reception from the Fratton faithful, having made 96 appearances for the Blues and been part of the side which won the FA Cup in 2008.

Interestingly, left-back Butcher also has Pompey links, hailing from the area.

In addition, the 18-year-old spent a month on loan at Gosport Borough in February 2015, before seeing the season out at Poole Town.

However, it is unlikely Matt Richie will be given a start against the club he supported as a boy.

The midfielder from Gosport made 10 appearances for Pompey before Steve Cotterill sold him to Swindon Town in January 2011.

The Scotland international featured as a substitute in last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland having recovered from a dead leg.

Yet with the trip to Palace on the horizon, Howe will be keen to mix-up his squad and rest regular members from the Pompey fixture.