Date: 8th January 2015 at 9:01am
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AFC Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was pleased that defender Elliott Ward got through 60 minutes in a development squad game against Luton Town.

Ward has struggled with a knee problem for the past eleven months, initially suffering the injury in February when he clashed with an advertising board during the defeat with eventual champions Leicester City.

He underwent an operation in May and missed the Cherries pre-season programme, but returned to play in the League Cup match with Exeter City.

Unfortunately he suffered some swelling following the match and following an assessment at the Villa Stuart Sport Clinic in Rome, he underwent further surgery in a bid to repair the damaged knee.

Howe told

“I was really pleased to see him back, It`s been a long road for him. It`s very tough when you have a serious injury and you`re away from the lads for a long period of time but this was a big step for him.

“He came through the game fine, we are really pleased for him.

“He now has more training and more games needed before he can be considered for first team selection but it was a big step in his recovery.

“When you look at his age and his size – he is a big lad – and when you look at how serious the injury was and how long he has been out, we are going to need to step his recovery up gradually before we will consider him.”

The Cherries lost the game 2-1, with AFC Bournemouth’s goal coming via Callum Buckley.

Former AFC Bournemouth captain Miles Addison partnered Elliott Ward in defence, whilst Darryl Flahavan was selected in goal.

On trial Portugal under 19’s international Erico Sousa completed 90 minutes.

AFC Bournemouth XI: Flahavan, Lee, Addison (Butcher 62), Ward (Kaye 62), Buckley, Cornick, Wakefield, Matthews, Sousa, Whitfield, Surridge (Worthington 66).

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