Callum Wilson (right) recently returned to action
Callum Wilson (right) recently returned to action Getty Images

AFC Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson is moving closer to a starting berth ahead of their Premier League fixture against Chelsea at the Vitality Stadium. The 24-year-old forward suffered a long-term knee injury in September but recently returned to action with the first team.

Cherries manager Eddie Howe has revealed he is pleased with the player's recovery and admitted he is close to earning a place in his starting line up. "He is getting closer to a start," Howe said during a pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea's visit, according to the club's official website.

"I was pleased with his little cameo last week against Liverpool – he did very well. I don't think it is any coincidence that it coincided with our best spell of the game and the goal," he said. "The most important thing for Callum is that he stays fit and can train. From there, we can get his minutes up."

Howe also revealed fellow striker Benik Afobe is moving closer to a first-team return, while Adam Smith is set to miss the Chelsea game with a groin injury. "Adam Smith's still nursing a groin injury. We need to manage that so it doesn't become a chronic injury and impact him in the long term," Howe shared.

"Harry Arter also has a similar issue: a long-standing injury that we need to manage. Benik Afobe is closer once again and I consider Junior Stanislas back and fully fit now."

Meanwhile, Howe reflected on Bournemouth's shock 1-0 victory against Chelsea earlier this season, which proved to be a major landmark in their Premier League campaign. "The win at Chelsea was one of the turning points of the season," the manager said. "When you deliver it, that's the confidence builder. We look back on it with fondness – it was a famous night for AFC Bournemouth."

Bournemouth have already passed the all-important 40-point barrier in the Premier League, while Chelsea – on 44 points – have no hope of qualifying for European football next season.