Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has praised the goal-scoring knack of Steve Cook after the defender added to his growing list of important strikes.
Centre-back Cook saved the Premier League Cherries from FA Cup embarrassment on Saturday by claiming a stoppage-time leveller in the 2-2 draw at home to League One leaders Wigan.
The 26-year-old’s late header, which forced a third round replay, was the ninth time he has been on the scoresheet since Bournemouth were promoted to the top-flight in 2015. It was also his third vital goal of the season following efforts against relegation rivals Newcastle and Brighton which earned the Cherries a combined total of three precious points.
Boss Howe feels it is crucial for players of all positions to contribute in front of goal.
“He’s always had a knack and I said this before I think in the Championship, League One days, he’s a big goalscorer for us, important goals,” Howe said of Cook.
“And he’s developed that knack again, the goal at Brighton, the goal at Newcastle, huge goals for us at important points.
“You do need goals from everywhere so we’re delighted with our set-piece return in recent weeks and he’s been a big part of that.”
Howe made eight changes to his starting line-up for the tie and his decision looked to have backfired when in-form Wigan raced into a two-goal half-time lead thanks to Will Grigg’s early strike and an own goal from Emerson Hyndman.
However, French forward Lys Mousset’s first goal since he move to the Vitality Stadium in the summer of 2016 gave the hosts hope before Cook’s nodded finish ensured they would have another crack at the Latics.
Despite failing to see off lower-league opposition, Howe retained confidence in his squad players, singling out midfielder Hyndman for praise.
“I think the players that we brought in are all good players, first and foremost, I believe in them all, I will say that,” Howe added.
“I thought Emerson Hyndman did very well today, he hasn’t had a lot of football but he’s a talented technician, I was pleased with him.
“I thought the other players did OK.”