Iraola looking forward to emotional Lockyer reunion

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Andoni Iraola is looking forward to seeing Luton Town’s Tom Lockyer when Bournemouth face the Hatters in Wednesday’s rearranged Premier League clash, as the defender returns to the ground where he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Luton captain Lockyer collapsed during the second half of December’s fixture between the teams at the Vitality Stadium, receiving treatment on the pitch before being transferred to hospital as the match was abandoned.  

Lockyer was subsequently fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator after it was confirmed that his heart had stopped beating for two minutes and 40 seconds.

While Lockyer has outlined his desire to return to football, he revealed last month that he is waiting on the results of further tests before making a decision on his future.

The 29-year-old will travel with the Luton squad for Wednesday’s rescheduled fixture on the south coast, and Cherries boss Iraola was heartened to hear he will be in attendance.

“Our supporters, from the first second it happened, were supporting him and trying to help him. Everyone is happy that he is feeling better,” Iraola said at Tuesday’s pre-match press conference.

“That’s the most important thing. From the first second after it happened, everyone was clear that the only thing that mattered was his recovery.

“He has recovered well. It will be amazing if we can see him. I’m happy to know that he is doing well.”

Bournemouth should have star striker Dominic Solanke available on Wednesday, after a knee injury forced the former Liverpool and Chelsea man to skip training last week.

Solanke was passed fit to start as Bournemouth were held to a frustrating 2-2 draw by Sheffield United on Saturday, slipping as he sent a first-half penalty over the crossbar.  

“He’s not been affected by the injury, performance-wise. For sure, he feels pain sometimes,” Iraola said of Solanke.

“He finished the game feeling better than the previous one against Burnley and I expect him to be available, he had a good recovery from the Sheffield United game.

“There are a lot of things that happen to football players across a season, players are used to playing through these things. Now he’s feeling better, so I hope he doesn’t lose any more gametime.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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