Date: 11th August 2021 at 10:29am
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During pre-season under new AFC Bournemouth head coach Scott Parker, the Dean Court faithful have been able to get a bit of a closer look at some of the shining stars of the current crop of graduates from the clubs academy.

With injuries to both Chris Mepham and Steve Cook, with Cameron Carter-Vickers returning to Tottenham Hotspur following his loan spell, Zeno Ibsen Rossi featured heavily prior to the season beginning, only to lose his place to Mepham once the Wales international returned from suspension.

Another man benefitting in the absence of others has been Gavin Kilkenny.

With Lewis Cook out with a long-term knee injury, Jefferson Lerma suspended for six matches and Ben Pearson unavailable through illness, Kilkenny not only featured in pre-season but has kept his place in the first-team for the start of the 2021/22 Championship campaign.

The 21-year-old has taken his chance with both hands and many question whether he will necessarily lose the shirt as soon as any of the above trio return.

SteveJonesLegend wrote…

The big thing that Kilkenny will struggle with is the very fact that we have 3 established Centre Midfielders that he’ll have to get ahead of…

I have no doubt that he has the talent, after Friday’s performance, but you have to ask, if Lerma, L.Cook, and Pearson were all available… Would Kilkenny have even been on the bench?

We have 4 very good, if not very similar, CMs in our side… For the next couple of weeks, the CM position will continue to be his to lose, and he absolutely must now go all out and stake his claim for it longer-term… But you have to think that both Pearson and L. Cook are not far away, and Lerma has a definite date that he will be back in contention…

It will be interesting to see how Parker sees things and from what I’ve seen he very much has an open mind about who to play… This also brings you on to the Lerma situation… Lerma is a great player, let’s not kid ourselves he isn’t… However, if for whatever reason Parker decides that Kilkenny and Pearson (for example) are our 2 preferred CMs going forward, a club like ours cannot afford to have a player like Lerma (with his wages), sat on the bench…

There are no guarantees in football, but I guess one might need to think if Lerma is only going to be a ‘challenger’ for a CM position, do we sell now and offload wages…?

northstandmark wrote…

Gavin showed on Friday that he can operate in tight spaces and under pressure. When up against a high press he can receive, turn and pick out a pass into the space left behind by the opposition high press.

This Saturday will be the opposite test for the guy. I expect Chris Hughton will set Nottingham Forest up to sit in and let us have lots of the ball (that’s what Hughton sides usually do).

So the challenge from Kilkenny’s position on the field up there will be more one of picking gaps out of a congested Forest shape. Keeping the tempo and movement of the ball high and then threading the eye of a needle to find our advanced players.

Look forward to seeing how he gets on.

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