CHERRIES are sweating on the fitness of Eddie Howe and Brian Stock after the duo both picked up ankle injuries on Tuesday night (Dec 7).

Howe was stretchered off in first-half stoppage time after landing awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Bradford's Michael Symes.

And Stock succumbed just three minutes into the second period after failing to shake off the knock he had sustained at the end of the first half.

Cherries boss Sean O'Driscoll said last night: "They both went over on their ankles and we'll have to assess them in the morning. They are both strapped up now so we'll send them home and see how they are in the morning.

"Eddie was walking on his in the changing room, but you can't tell with things like this. As he was coming off, he felt the feeling come back in his ankle, but we've got another game on Friday.

"It was the same with Brian. He came back out for the second half and gave away his first two passes so he clearly wasn't fit enough to continue."

O'Driscoll added: "The boys who came on did fantastically. Shaun Maher was unlucky to be left out after the game on Saturday when he did really well.

"Brian's been playing out of his skin, but I thought Marcus (Browning) and Shaun came on and did a job. I thought they were excellent."

First-half goals inside the opening 18 minutes from Karl Broadhurst and Alan Connell propelled Cherries into fourth place in League One.

O'Driscoll said: "I thought we were excellent. We had won the game in the first 20 minutes and then lost the plot a little bit. They showed what a good side they are.

"I thought we were really professional in the second half but looked really tired at times. Bradford hadn't played for eight days and I thought that told in the end.

"Sometimes, the way you like to play is not the way you have to play and in the second half, without playing the football we like to play, I thought we controlled it and limited them to hardly any chances.

"Fair play to them, they dug in during the second half when it was a different game. They knew what they had to do. We were 2-0 up so it was a case of protecting what we had and do what they were trying to do to us; defend deeply and hit us on the break.

"The game changed the longer it went on. We showed another side to our character. We're a footballing side and people who watch us will say we're not renowned for being a strong tackling side, but I thought mentally we were really strong tonight.

"We were lucky to come in at half-time with a clean sheet but we set our stall out in the second half and had something to protect which was nice and I thought we did the job."

Meanwhile, Southampton have turned down Cherries' latest request to bring Martin Cranie back on loan.