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Tony Pulis set to raid AFC Bournemouth this summer

| 03.04.2014

AFC Bournemouth are bracing themselves for a double swoop from Crystal Palace and former Cherries boss Tony Pulis this summer.

According to reports, the Eagles manager has had scouts watching Championship duo Steve Cook and Matt Ritchie in every match since he took to the Selhurst Park dugout.

The pair have stood out for the Cherries in a season which has seen the south-coast club climb to 10th in the league and still harbouring realistic hopes of a play-off berth.

Cook, who started his career at Brighton & Hove Albion, did a mini tour of the lower leagues when being loaned out by the Seagulls but has now established himself as a dominant force in the Cherries’ back four.

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe will be keen to hang on to player he signed in 2012 as the Dean Court outfit look to build on what has been a solid first season in the second tier and will be even more reluctant to lose midfield star Ritchie.

The tricky winger was said to be the reason for Paolo Di Canio’s exit from Swindon – after being forced to sell to Bournemouth – and the 24-year old has impressed for the Boscombe-based club with eight goals from his 23 appearances so far.

Palace are sitting just above the relegation zone at present – priced at 7/2 to fall through the Premier League trap door – and it remains to be seen whether Pulis is planning for life in the Championship or believes the duo have what it takes to make it in the top flight.

His interest in the pair is likely to be more in line with the former, meaning Howe and the Dean Court faithful will be cheering Palace on in the final few weeks of the season.

The Eagles take on fellow strugglers Cardiff this weekend and are priced at 11/5 to beat Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team and put some daylight between themselves and the bottom three.

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James Curtis

After studying for a degree in journalism and gaining his NCTJ, James contributed to a wide range of papers, online publications and broadcasters including the South London Press, Press Association and Sky Sports News before joining the Ladbrokes News team.