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Page last updated at 19:25 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Fletcher seals Cherries return

Steve Fletcher celebrates promotion with Bournemouth in 2003
Fletcher helped Bournemouth to promotion via the play-offs in 2003

Veteran striker Steve Fletcher has completed his move back to League Two strugglers Bournemouth.

The 36-year-old was released by the Cherries in 2007 after 15 years at Dean Court and joined Chesterfield, before moving to Crawley last summer.

But new Cherries boss Eddie Howe has acted quickly to bring Fletcher back, and he is expected to make his "second debut" against Wycombe on Saturday.

"The battle to stay up starts now," Fletcher told BBC Radio Solent.

"The manager at Crawley [Steve Evans] has been absolutely fantastic in letting me speak to Bournemouth, and helping the move come about.

"He knew how much the club and the town meant to me and my family."

Fletcher has signed a deal running until the end of the season.

"Don't get me wrong, I've had a fantastic time at Crawley, we've been going very well in the league, the people are great there," he added.

"Of course I'll be excited to be back in the Bournemouth colours, but I'll feel a lot better if I can start with a win on Saturday.

"We've got to believe we can get out of the situation, and the nitty-gritty starts now. We've got to fight for every point."

Fletcher is Bournemouth's record appearance-maker - having made over 580 appearances in his first spell with the Cherries after joining from Hartlepool in 1992, while scoring over 100 goals and having a long stint as club captain.

He was on target when they won the Third Division play-off final by beating Lincoln City 5-2 in 2003, and was voted as the club's all-time cult hero by viewers of the BBC's Football Focus two years later.

After being released by former Cherries boss Kevin Bond in 2007, he made 39 appearances for Chesterfield in 2007/08 before looking for a club nearer his south coast home - and joining Crawley.

He scored two goals in four league starts and 17 substitute appearances for the Red Devils - but now faces a battle to keep the Cherries in the Football League, as they are 10 points from safety with 21 games remaining.

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see also
Fletcher keen on Cherries return
21 Jan 09 |  Bournemouth
Crawley beat Terras to Fletcher
23 May 08 |  Crawley
Spireites move to sign Fletcher
14 Jun 07 |  Chesterfield
Club releases Mr Bournemouth
08 May 07 |  England
Bournemouth's cult heroes
15 Apr 05 |  Football Focus
Cherries treble thrills Fletcher
02 Jan 05 |  Bournemouth
Bournemouth win seals promotion
24 May 03 |  League Two

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