Howe weighs up whether to unleash Grabban on City

Lewis Grabban scored against old club Bournemouth last season. Now the striker could return the favo

Lewis Grabban scored against old club Bournemouth last season. Now the striker could return the favour against the Canaries. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe is determined to keep Norwich City guessing over whether Lewis Grabban will start against the club he left earlier this week.

The 28-year-old rejoined the Cherries in a reported £8million deal earlier this week and came off the bench during the second half of the 3-1 Premier League defeat by West Ham on Tuesday night.

Grabban had limited game time in recent months at Carrow Road and Howe is mindful of the 28-year-old's lack of match sharpness.

The Cherries' chief knows how much Grabban wants to play, but his priority is looking for a priceless win to move one point clear of Alex Neil's club.

'It goes without saying we like Lewis a lot, from his previous spell here, he knows what we want and we know him, that is really important when you have a short period of the season left,' said Howe. 'He has not had a lot of football in the past few months, so that plays a part in our thinking, how match fit is he? We will make a decision on that. I don't think any player has to pull me to say they are desperate to start, because that is a given with anyone in my squad. A win would be really important for us. Our home form has been patchy so we want to start a consistent run. We know the importance of the games in this month, all we can do is give our best to achieve what we want to.'

Grabban returned to the Cherries in a double striker swoop with Benik Afobe making a club-record move from Wolves, along with Roma attacker Juan Iturbe joining on loan.

'It is early days, but all three of our new players are really good characters,' said Howe. 'Lewis knows us from having worked with us before, so there are no issues with him, he can acclimatise very quickly because he knows the majority of the players anyway. Benik is a good character and young player again, so there is no problem with him fitting in. Juan has been popular within the group, although he doesn't speak the language yet, but always has a smile on his face, so all the new players have fitted in very well off the pitch. It is nice to have done some early business, but it is all relative because we lost players earlier in the season and so we are really just trying to replace those numbers.'