CHERRIES will find out whether they will be allowed to keep defender Martin Cranie for another month this weekend.

The versatile Southampton youngster, who impressed in Saturday's defeat at Hartlepool, completed his one-month loan spell with an assured display in the absence of the injured Warren Cummings.

Cummings' hamstring injury is improving quicker than expected giving him an outside chance of making the FA Cup clash with Carlisle on Saturday.

But with Shaun Maher also suffering a heavy cold, manager Sean O'Driscoll's defensive options are perilously thin on the ground.

The Cherries boss has been in contact with his Southampton counterpart Steve Wigley and assistant Denis Rofe about the prospect of keeping the England under-19 skipper for at least another month.

But the St Mary's club are still not prepared to let him become cup-tied so will make a decision on his immediate future after Cherries' clash with Carlisle in the FA Cup second round at Dean Court.

Cranie may even be drafted into the Southampton squad which travels to Old Trafford for their Premiership encounter with Manchester United the same day.

O'Driscoll told the Daily Echo: "Martin cannot play in the FA Cup so he will be involved with them on Saturday.

"He has done well for us and we are keen to have him for another month but they have said they will consider our request after the weekend. We are hopeful he may be back."

Although Cranie's immediate future is still to be resolved there was at least some good news about Cummings whose minor hamstring tear saw him substituted in the replay win over Forest Green Rovers last week.

O'Driscoll said: "Warren is coming on well. He is running again so there is an outside chance of him playing on Saturday. Whether we want to risk him though is another matter.

"If Warren isn't fit enough we could change the system if we need to because some of the players may be more comfortable doing that than a major reshuffle - but we will see who we have available."

The Cherries boss also revealed that the club are waiting to hear from Arsenal to discuss John Spicer's future. Neither O'Driscoll nor chairman Peter Phillips have been able to contact Highbury vice-chairman David Dein about the possibility of keeping the midfielder either for a season-long loan or even a permanent deal.

O'Driscoll said: "That is ongoing. It is difficult to get hold of people in the know at Arsenal. David Dein has been in Dubai all week with other priorities but he is aware of the situation and so are John and his representatives."