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Bournemouth boss Gary O’Neil is confident his squad is strong enough to avoid relegation.

The Cherries were one of the most active Premier League clubs in January, with six new players brought in, and they followed up a spirited showing at Brighton last weekend with a battling 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle on Saturday.

While the point failed to move them out of the bottom three, O’Neil is delighted with the group at his disposal and positive about the future, with the likes of Lloyd Kelly, Illia Zabarnyi, Lewis Cook and David Brooks close to full fitness.

“It has been tough for the group at times because we’ve been a bit short with injuries so we’ve had to suffer some tough results,” O’Neil said.

“We have a group that is a lot, lot stronger now. We still have key players to come back like Brooksy, Lew, Lloyd and Illia so still four massive players for us that are missing but the group is in a good place.

“You don’t want to dwell on it too much when you’re going through a tough moment but we’ve missed a lot of good players. I had to name three young lads on the bench in the last few weeks so it looked very different (against Newcastle).

“The bench was very strong and able to affect things. I thought the subs had a real positive impact.”

Dango Ouattara and Hamed Traore, who joined from Lorient and Sassuolo respectively last month, again made big impressions and were involved in Marcos Senesi’s opener.

O’Neil, after he watched his side go a seventh match without a Premier League win, was eager to play down expectations on the young duo.

He insisted: “It is important we stay calm on that as well.

“Dango Ouattara is 21 years old, has been playing in France and hasn’t played a lot of first-team football. He is doing incredibly well but there is still a lot of improvement and work that needs to go into him.

“I thought Hamed Traore was very good again and looked fitter after a week’s good work, so yeah some positives but still a lot of work to do with the new boys to help them adapt and understand.

“Speaking to them, the intensity of the league and even the intensity of training has been a big change for them, so we’re trying to help them with that and help them improve.”

Former Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe backed his old club to stay up after they made life tough for his Champions League-chasing Newcastle side.

“I am very pleased to see the club doing well and back in the Premier League. I hope it continues to go from strength to strength,” Howe added.

“I know coming here the power of the home ground and what this ground can do.

“I have been the beneficiary of that many, many times so I think home form will be absolutely crucial but definitely, I think they have the players and manager to stay up.”