Simon Francis will be 'big loss' to Bournemouth dressing room, says Eddie Howe

Simon Francis is treated at Wembley 0:32
Eddie Howe says the absence of injured Bournemouth captain Simon Francis will be a big loss to the dressing room.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe admits the loss of captain Simon Francis to a long-term injury is "a huge blow" for the club.

Francis ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the 5-0 defeat to Tottenham on Boxing Day.

It is expected the defender will be sidelined for between six to nine months after a scan revealed the full extent of the injury.

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Speaking about losing his captain, Howe said: "[It's a] huge blow for us, for Simon and everyone connected to the club. He's been our leader on the pitch, our captain and our role model.

"He will be a huge miss in the dressing room. I feel for him first and foremost. He's a great professional, he's one who has done everything right. To come up the leagues like he has, has been hugely impressive.

"He didn't deserve that moment but it's happened and he has to react in the right way and we have to support him through that process.

"I just think the conversation we had was me supporting him, telling him how much we value him and that we help him through this.

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 during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and AFC Bournemouth at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 26, 2018 in London, United Kingdom.
Image: Francis is stretchered off the pitch at Wembley

"It is a very tight-knit dressing room, they will all be right behind him and willing him on, but for the team it's a big gap to fill."

Francis is the third Cherries player this season to have suffered a serious knee injury, with fellow defender Adam Smith and midfielder Lewis Cook both long-term absentees, while Dan Gosling is also out with a knee problem.

The loss of Francis has left Howe without a recognised right-back.

"I've had the conversations about injuries," Howe said. "They're all body-weight injuries really. Unfortunately for us it's just a cruel twist of fate that we have the injuries we have had."

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Bournemouth's defeat to Spurs at Wembley was their seventh in nine Premier League matches.

That run has seen them slip into the bottom half of the table, down to 12th after a positive start to the season, but they remain 14 points above the bottom three ahead of Sunday's clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

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