Howe believes Cherries have squad to challenge for honours

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Eddie Howe believes Bournemouth have a squad capable of lifting silverware.

The Cherries host League Two MK Dons in the second round of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday following an unbeaten start to their Premier League campaign.

Manager Howe has twice guided his team to the quarter-finals of the competition, including last season when they were beaten at Chelsea.

He thinks his players have the quality to enjoy another cup run and feels they should be targeting a trip to Wembley.

“It goes without saying, we’d love to be able to do that,” said Howe at his pre-match press conference when asked about winning the first major trophy in the club’s history.

“And my message to the players will always be: ‘Why not?’.

“I think we can do it, I think we’ve got the squad depth to achieve something like that.

“We should definitely go in with the mindset that we want to perform well, try and progress and then see where it takes us.”

Bournemouth began their top-flight campaign with successive victories over Cardiff and West Ham, which were followed by Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Everton.

The positive results have allowed Howe to name an unchanged starting XI in each of those three fixtures.

He plans to make alterations against the Dons, including handing debuts to summer signings Jefferson Lerma and Diego Rico.

Colombia midfielder Lerma, a £25million club-record signing from Spanish side Levante, has been building his fitness and was an unused substitute against Everton, while left-back Rico has completed a three-match ban.

England internationals Lewis Cook and Jermain Defoe will also hope for starts having been restricted to substitute appearances so far.

“We’ll be utilising our squad. We’ve got some very talented players who haven’t played yet,” Howe added.

“Jefferson will play, looking forward to seeing him play. Hopefully, he’ll do what he’s done in training, he’s been really impressive so far so that’s a mouth-watering prospect.

“It’s been a long time for Diego, it seems like those three games have really dragged on with no midweek matches so he’s chomping at the bit.”

The Cherries remain without forward Junior Stanislas due to a knee injury, while midfielder Kyle Taylor continues to be sidelined with a muscular problem.

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