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Defoe faces cup test to assess level of fitness

Bournemouth 0 Watford 2

Eddie Howe will use the Carabao Cup to test the fitness of Jermain Defoe as he attempts to resolve Bournemouth's early-season goalscoring problems.

The Cherries have suffered back-to-back defeats in the league and failed to find the net in both of those games, including Saturday's 2-0 loss to Watford.

England international Defoe, recruited from Sunderland in the summer, has made two substitute appearances to date, and manager Howe plans to assess him against Birmingham in midweek to find out if he is ready to start a league match.

Confirming that the striker will be in his line-up for the tie at St Andrew's, Howe said: "We just don't think he's where he needs to be fitness-wise, so he needs some more work and he will get an opportunity on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Watford manager Marco Silva believes it is vital for his players to develop a strong rapport with the Vicarage Road faithful in order for the club to enjoy a successful campaign.

"It's the most important thing in football. I said we need to create something special between them and our fans," he said.

Belfast Telegraph