SCOTT Parker explained why Ethan Laird was left out of the squad to face Peterborough United, saying the loanee “needs a bit more work”.
Laird, on loan from Manchester United, was not part of the matchday 18 for the clash with Posh, which ended 1-1 at Vitality Stadium.
Despite fellow right-back Adam Smith beginning the first of a three-game ban, Jack Stacey was preferred from the start. Jaidon Anthony was then introduced for Stacey in that position in the closing minutes.
Laird’s absence raised many eyebrows when the team news was announced, given he had come off the bench in each of Cherries’ last two fixtures, while Stacey did not even make the squad for Saturday’s loss at Preston.
Asked why Laird, who impressed during the first half of this season on loan at Swansea City, was absent for the Peterborough clash, boss Parker said: “He just wasn’t in the squad. I just feel that he needs work.
“He needs a bit more work really to get to the levels of what we ask of our full-backs, to get to the level for him to perform at his optimum and us to all see the best Ethan Laird.
“So that was a decision I made, for him to do that.”
He added: “I’ve explained the situation to Ethan. He understands it as well. He gets it.
“He’s been out for a long time. He’s come into the football club and not kicked a ball or been in training for a long time, because obviously he came here injured and then picked up another injury.
“So we just need to take some air with him, take some oxygen. Want him to relax and I just want to do the best by him and get him in a place where he is going to be the player that we signed.”
Asked if he still believes the 20-year-old can have a big impact during the remainder of the season, Parker said: “Yeah, definitely, a million per cent.
“He can have a massive impact. There’s still a lot of football to be played.
“He can have a massive impact by just taking him out the firing line a little bit, getting him on the training ground, getting a bit more work into him, get him to his optimum levels and then we’ll see the best Ethan.”
Cherries host Derby County on Saturday (3pm).