Stephen Purches joy at Bournemouth testimonial game

Stephen Purches

Stephen Purches says Bournemouth's decision to give him a testimonialexternal-link is a "great honour" and is targeting a return to fitness for the game.

Purches signed for Bournemouth in 2000, but joined Leyton Orient in 2007 and returned to the Cherries in 2010.

The 32-year-old defender is recovering from a broken leg and the testimonial game is likely to be during pre-season.

"I want to play in my own testimonial and I've got that to aim for," Purches told BBC Radio Solent.

"It's a massive thing to be given a testimonial. Bournemouth has been such a big part of my life, the majority of my career and a third of my life.

Purches has made over 300 appearances in two spells on the south coast, and most notably scored in the 2003 play-off final win at the Millennium Stadium, which secured promotion to the third tier.

"The Millennium Stadium is an obvious memory, occasion and an event that has gone down in club history," added Purches, "It was a great time in my life."

After signing in the summer of 2000, he quickly became an integral part of Mel Machin's side before impressing under Sean O'Driscoll.

"He has had a major effect on my career and the sort of person I am today is because of what he was like as a manager," he said.

"Sean had a lot of great ideas and we all owe him a lot."

Purches helped the Cherries to the play-off semi-final in his first season back at the club, and signed a new two-and-a-half year contract following some impressive performances last season

And Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe who played with Purches and brought him back to the club paid tribute to the versatile defender.

"He has got a great attitude and has always been a Bournemouth man, even when he went away," said Howe.

"He is a real team player and it is fitting reward for everything he has done for this football club. He is a an unsung hero and a vital cog.

"All the lads respect him and he is a joy to manage. Ten years at one club is a terrific achievement and the supporters would have taken him to the hearts I'm sure,"

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