Tokelo Rantie return can boost Bournemouth - Eddie Howe

Tokelo Rantie
Rantie started all of South Africa's matches in Equatorial Guinea

Striker Tokelo Rantie can play a major role in Bournemouth's promotion push, says Cherries boss Eddie Howe.

Rantie has returned to the club after being at the Africa Cup of Nations with South Africa since early January.

The 24-year-old has made 11 appearances and scored twice for the Championship side this season, with his three starts all coming in the League Cup.

"He could have a massive part to play in the second part of the season for us," Howe told BBC Radio Solent.

Rantie - who dislocated his shoulder earlier this season - started all three of Bafana Bafana's matches in Equatorial Guinea, missing a penalty against Algeria in the team's opener as they exited the tournament in the group stages.

"The positive is he's gone and got games, he's returned from his shoulder injury with no ill effects and he's looked very good in training," added Howe.

"We're excited to see him and he's a real prospect for us if we can get him in the right positions."

Howe said Rantie's impact in his second season with the Cherries had been reduced because of his regular trips away on international duty and injury.

"It's been difficult for him," said Howe. "It's been stop-start as he's been away on international duty so he did lose momentum and he had a shoulder injury when he looked electric.

"That's the nature of football but we back him to have a big impact when needed."

Bournemouth, aiming for promotion to the top flight for the first time in the club's history, are top of the Championship table after 28 games, level on points with Derby.

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